Paul Domowitch's Eagles-Ravens Scouting Report

Posted: September 14, 2012

Recent history: The host Ravens blasted the Eagles, 36-7, on Nov. 23, 2008. The all-time series is tied, 1-1.

OFFENSE

Eagles

456 yards per game (2nd)

Ravens

430 yards per game (4th)

Quarterback

Eagles

Mike Vick's decision-making in Week 1 was awful. He locked in on receivers, repeatedly failed to see dropping LBs in coverage, abandoned the pocket too soon, and failed to recognize blitzes. He was just 8-for-17 when Browns sent extra rushers, and can expect a heavy dose of blitzing Sunday.

Ravens

Joe Flacco, who is coming off a 21-for-29, 2-TD, 0-INT performance against the Bengals, has the fourth best win percentage among active quarterbacks, behind Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan. He has a strong, accurate arm, is poised in the pocket, and has increased freedom to run the offense this season.

Pick: Ravens

Running back

Eagles

LeSean McCoy rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries vs. Browns. He had six runs of 9 yards or more and averaged 6.3 yards per carry on first down. McCoy was 4-for-4 in short-yardage situations (2 yards or less), none bigger than the fourth-and-1 he converted to keep alive the game-winning drive.

Ravens

Ray Rice is a versatile run-catch threat who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season (2,068). His 367 touches were the second most in the league. The Ravens move Rice around the formation much like the Eagles used to do with Brian Westbrook. Vonta Leach is one of the top blocking fullbacks.

Pick: Even

Receiving

Eagles

The Eagles used two-tight end sets on nearly a third of their plays last week, and with Jeremy Maclin possibly out with a hip injury, that figures to climb. Slot receiver Jason Avant would replace Maclin in two-WR sets. TEs Brent Celek and Clay Harbor combined for 7 catches, 81 yards and the game-winning TD last week.

Ravens

TEs Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson are big targets who combined for 94 catches and 8 TDs last year. Pitta may be Joe Flacco's most trusted receiver, but doesn't have Dickson's speed. WR Anquan Boldin will be 32 in October, but still is productive. Torrey Smith is a legitimate vertical threat.

Pick: Ravens

Offensive line

Eagles

This unit did a decent job blocking for LeSean McCoy last week, but there were too many breakdowns in pass protection, as well as four drive-killing holding calls. King Dunlap did nothing to convince us that he can handle the LT job. With Jason Peters out, Eagles ran more to the right side.

Ravens

The Ravens shuffled this unit up Monday, moving Michael Oher from RT to LT, benching veterans Bryant McKinnie and Bobbie Williams, and starting rookie Kelechi Osemele (RT) and third-year man Ramon Harewood (LG). Oher is more comfortable on the right side, but did a decent job protecting Joe Flacco's blind side.

Pick: Ravens

DEFENSE

Eagles

210 yards per game (1st)

Ravens

322 yards per game (13th)

Defensive line

Eagles

While getting pressure on Joe Flacco will be of the utmost importance, the Eagles' front four, particularly the DTs, need to be mindful of Ray Rice on their way to the quarterback. If he is allowed to get to the second level unimpeded, the Eagles will struggle. Eagles had seven d-linemen with at least 20 snaps in Week 1.

Ravens

DT Haloti Ngata may be the most disruptive interior linemen in the game. He's an immovable run-stopper who also can rush the passer. DTs Terrence Cody and Ma'ake Keemoetu both are 340-plus-pound run-stuffers. With Terrell Suggs out, DE Pernell McPhee may be the Ravens' top pass rusher.

Pick: Eagles

Linebacker

Eagles

The linebackers did a very good job vs. the run and the pass in Week 1. But they're stepping up in class. Ray Rice is a dangerous runner, but also creates matchup problems when he lines up outside. The Ravens also have not one, but two, very good pass-catching tight ends (Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson).

Ravens

With the injury to SLB Terrell Suggs, the Ravens not only lost a terrific pass rusher (an AFC-best 14 sacks last season) but also one of their top run defenders. His replacement, Paul Kruger, had 5 1/2 sacks last season. Thirty-seven-year-old Ray Lewis dropped some weight and still is playing at a Pro Bowl level.

Pick: Even

Secondary

Eagles

It will be interesting to see if Juan Castillo moves Nnamdi Asomugha inside some, particularly when the Ravens go to two-tight end sets. Rookie nickel corner Brandon Boykin will be matched up against Anquan Boldin when the Ravens go to 3-WR sets. With little depth at safety, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman must stay healthy.

Ravens

The Ravens gave up a league-best 11 TD passes last season and didn't allow any in Week 1. CB Lardarius Webb is developing into one of the league's elite shutdown corners. SS Bernard Pollard is an intimidating hitter, and FS Ed Reed has 58 career interceptions.

Pick: Ravens

SPECIAL TEAMS

Eagles

P Chas Henry is coming off the best performance of his career. He had three 60-plus-yard punts in Week 1 and averaged 55.0 yards. After missing just three field goals last season, Alex Henery has missed one in each of the last four games, including the preseason. Coverage units struggled vs. Browns' Josh Cribbs.

Ravens

Justin Tucker is a strong-legged rookie who beat out veteran Billy Cundiff for the placekicker job. P Sam Koch averaged 46.5 yards per attempt last season. Rookie Deonte Thompson handled kickoff returns in Week 1, while Lardarius Webb and Jacoby Jones divvied up the punt-return chores.

Pick: Even

Domo's prediction: Ravens 24, Eagles 20

KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles C Jason Kelce vs. Ravens DT Haloti Ngata: Kelce is developing into a good, young snapper. But the 330-pound Ngata may be the best DT in the game. Advantage: Ravens

2. Eagles WR DeSean Jackson vs. Ravens LCB Lardarius Webb: If Jeremy Maclin can't play, Jackson is going to have to step up his game against Webb, one of the league's better shutdown corners. Advantage: Ravens

3. Eagles SLB Mychal Kendricks vs. Ravens TEs Dennis Pitta/Ed Dickson: This will be Kendricks' first big NFL coverage test. Pitta and Dickson combined for 94 catches and eight TDs last year. Advantage: Even

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