In light of this weekend's divisional round of the NFL Playoffs, BR.com sat down with Ravens director of pro personnel George Kokinis to offer a scout's look at the matchups.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
When Green Bay has the ball…
Kokinis: "[Running back] Ryan Grant has done a nice job for the Packers. It's one of those cases where you ask what comes before the other. Is it because [quarterback Brett] Farve is so efficient with his passing to [receivers] Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, and that opened up the running lanes? Perhaps, but their line has created some holes, and Grant has taken advantage of them.
"For the Seahawks defense, because [Marcus] Trufant is such a known commodity at the corner, Farve could attack Kelly Jennings' side of the field and set up some matchups that way."
Terrell Suggs took down Tom Brady when the Patriots visited Baltimore this year.
When Seattle has the ball…
"It depends on how Green Bay matches up. Normally, they're going to put [cornerback Charles] Woodson on the inside on the third receiver. They've been consistent that way, so I assume that they're going to do that. [Wideout] Bobby Engram is one of those players - when you look at the third receivers in the league, like Wes Welker and Antwan Randle El - he's right up there, not only in terms of production throughout his career, but he still creates mismatches with his quickness and ability to set up routes. You've got a perennial Pro Bowl corner against someone that nobody's really heard about, so that is an interesting matchup to look for."
Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (Saturday, 8:00 p.m.)
When New England has the ball…
"Well, Jacksonville has a strong group up front, but no one's really had a lead against New England this year, so it's not like we're going to see last week's Giants - Bucs game, when the Giants could just pin their ears back and blitz all day. It's hard to block that, but the Patriots have [quarterback Tom] Brady and the weapons he has. He doesn't keep the ball in his hand for long at all, and it's hard to get pressure on him. If Jacksonville can get a lead, then maybe the defense can really get pressure on Brady."
When Jacksonville has the ball…
"The Jaguars are going to do what they're going to do, and that's run the ball. They're going to put their big line on your big line, and hopefully [running back] Maurice [Jones-Drew] is going to break some tackles like he's been doing all year and [running back] Fred Taylor is going to get away from some people. Taylor's still lightening-quick and still one of the most-dangerous backs in the league. Behind that big line, if it doesn't work in the first quarter, they're going to stay with it. If it doesn't work in the second quarter, they're going to stay with it. If it doesn't work in the third quarter… they're going to stay with it. It's their formula, and it has worked."
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)
When Indianapolis has the ball…
The Ravens traveled to San Diego on Nov. 25, where Jarret Johnson met LaDainian Tomlinson.
"The real question is what [receiver] Marvin [Harrison] is going to show up. If the Colts have him, it's going to open up [tight end Dallas] Clark more than ever. Those matchups that Indy has are going to scare you every time. But, the thing about San Diego is that they have some guys to cover them. [Cornerback Antonio] Cromartie has really come on - not out of nowhere, but he was a developmental guy with unbelievable ball skills and athleticism. He just had to learn how to play. With him, Drayton Florence and Quentin Jammer, they have three guys at the corner spot that can match up with the Colts' wideouts. That's when Clark gets free, because you can't cover them all.
"[Safety] Eric Weddle is a guy for San Deigo that we liked coming out of the draft - kind of a jack-of-all-trades. He's done some good things on tight ends in their dime packages. So, Clark and Weddle will be an interesting battle."
When San Diego has the ball…
"The best thing for them to do is remember that they have [running back] LaDainian Tomlinson on this team. After a slow start, everybody was saying that [head coach] Norv Turner wasn't doing a good job, but you have to take into account that they lost a bunch of coaches. It was a matter of feeling it out and playing some good competition at the beginning of the year. After that honeymoon period, they found out what they do well, and a lot of that is Tomlinson.
"I don't know where [tight end Antonio] Gates is, in terms of injuries, but if he's gone, that's a blow. Their outside weapons are OK, but he's the one that teams have to account for. Maybe they'll put [running back Michael] Turner in there some and see if they can just run it on the Colts. Certainly, when you have LaDainian and Turner, those are two weapons that can take some pressure off [quarterback Philip] Rivers."
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, 4:30 p.m.)
When Dallas has the ball…
"The Giants have some size on defense, and I think that lets them compete against teams that want to just overpower you. But, Dallas has a back in Marion Barber that is an absolute running horse when you give them the ball. If T.O. [wideout Terrell Owens] doesn't play, they might try to run it more.
"[Receiver] Patrick Crayton has had a good year, and everybody is saying that [receiver] Terry Glenn is going to play after sitting out all season. If everybody focuses on [tight end] Jason Witten and Crayton, this could be a game when people are saying, 'Well, Terry Glenn is back.' You wouldn't consider the secondary a strength of the Giants' defense. They're got some younger guys that weren't starting at the beginning of the season in there, so the passing game is a good matchup for Dallas."
When New York has the ball…
"It's the age-old adage that if it works, it was a great call. If not, it was a bad call. Everybody had their different opinions on whether the Giants should have played the Patriots hard or not three weeks ago. In some respect, it wasn't a great thing because they lost their starting center for the next game and their corner got hurt, but [quarterback] Eli [Manning] had a great game. In terms of momentum, Eli got to build a little bit of confidence, which may not have happened if he didn't have that game. We'll see how that plays out this weekend, because momentum and confidence in a quarterback are huge."