Ravens vs. Eagles Game Preview: Forget Week 1


Opening weekend for the Ravens and Eagles could not have been more contrasting.

The Ravens dominated the Bengals on Monday Night Football, while the Eagles needed a late fourth-quarter touchdown drive to win a turnover-riddled game against the Browns.

So how much did the Ravens focus on those Week 1 performances heading into Sunday's game against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field?

"We moved on right after the win," cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "We didn't have time to glorify that victory. We couldn't really think about that Bengals game too long."

An emphasis throughout the week has been to not overlook an Eagles team that piled up 456 yards of total offense. Philadelphia has Super Bowl aspirations, just like the Ravens, and they will be looking to rebound this week.

"You have to move on, for us to go in there and say, 'The Eagles are not as good as they said,' we'd be fooling ourselves," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "We know that this is their home opener. We know it's going be loud, it's going to be rowdy, and they are going to be ready to play."

Winning in front of a hostile Philadelphia crowd is never easy, but beating the Eagles in their home opener has been a good sign for teams the last two years. The New York Giants and Green Bay Packers both beat the Eagles in their home opener and then went on to win the Super Bowl in the same year.

Could the Ravens follow in their footsteps?* *

3 Matchups To Watch

DE Jason Babin vs. LT Michael OherThe Eagles have a relentless pass rush, which is headlined by Babin, who had 18 sacks last season. Oher started at left tackle for the Ravens last week and looks poised to remain in the starting role, so he will be tasked with protecting Flacco's blindside.

CB Nnamdi Asomugha vs. WR Torrey SmithAsomugha is a shut-down corner that is often matched up against opposing teams' top receivers. With wide receiver Anquan Boldin playing more slot this year, that likely means that Asomugha will line up across from Smith. If Asomugha can cover Smith one-on-one, then that frees up a safety to watch for other targets coming across the middle.

RB LeSean McCoy vs. Outside LinebackersThe Eagles running back is one of the best backs in the NFL at testing the edge and running outside the tackles. McCoy is quick and shifty, which allows him to change direction and keep defenses off-guard. The Ravens struggled at stopping the run last week and they will have to do a better job against Philadelphia this week. Much of the pressure to keep McCoy inside will fall on outside linebackers Paul Kruger, Albert McClellan and Courtney Upshaw.

3 Questions To Answer

Can Flacco stay Hot?Joe Flacco has been a national talking point around the NFL after his Week 1 performance against Cincinnati where he threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens no-huddle offense worked to near perfection, and if that continues against the Eagles then Baltimore will be tough to beat. 

Which Vick will show up?Michael Vick struggled mightily in the opener, throwing four interceptions and fumbling twice. The four-time Pro Bowler still has the ability to break a big play at any point, but he has to do a better job of protecting the football if the Eagles are going to have a chance. A key for the Ravens is to hit him in the backfield and throw off his game.

Who will the Eagles have at receiver?Philadelphia's top two receivers, Desean Jackson (hamstring) and Jeremy Maclin (hip), are both questionable for Sunday. They were both limited participants in Friday's practice, but if they can't play, then that takes two critical targets away from Vick. 

2012 Rankings

Total Defense – 322.0 (13)
Rush Defense – 129.0 (24)
Pass Defense – 193.0 (7)
Points Allowed Per Game – 16.6 (3)

Total Offense – 430.0 (4)
Rush Offense – 122.0 (11)
Pass Offense – 308.0 (5)
Points Scored Per Game – 44.0 (2)

EaglesTotal Defense – 210.0 (1)
Rush Defense – 99.0 (17)
Pass Defense – 111.0 (1)
Points Allowed Per Game – 15.4 (1)

Total Offense – 456.0 (2)
Rush Offense – 150.0 (6)
Pass Offense – 306.0 (6)
Points Scored Per Game – 17.0 (23t)

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