Week one is in the books and it is now time to turn the page to the Baltimore Ravens, who will prove to be a much tougher test than the Cleveland Browns. The Eagles will have to step up their game if they expect to beat the Ravens, who are coming off of a 44-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. This game will be the home opener for the Eagles at 1 pm Sunday.
Eagles Offense vs. Ravens Defense
Michael Vick and the Eagles must avoid turning the ball over against this ferocious Ravens defense. This will be a much tougher test
than the Browns defense, who had their way with the Eagles offense last week. LeSean McCoy can’t afford to fumble the ball, the receivers must run crisp routes, and the offensive line must give Vick time to go through his reads. Last week, Vick was under pressure for most of the first half, which caused him to force some throws and throw off his whole game. With that being said, Vick has to either tuck the ball and run or just throw the ball away when he is under pressure. Live to fight another day.
Once again, the Ravens defense is led by the ageless Ray Lewis, who recorded 14 tackles and forced a fumble last week. Ed Reed is back for what seems to be his last season to once again lead the Ravens secondary. Reed intercepted one pass last week and returned it for a touchdown. Michael Vick will have to be careful with every throw he makes or it will be a long day for the Eagles.
One injury note: Jeremy Maclin remains questionable for this Sunday’s game due to a hip pointer. He was not scheduled to practice Thursday. Jason Avant will fill in for Maclin if he cannot go.
Eagles Defense vs. Ravens Offense
The Eagles defense took advantage of rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden and rookie running back Trent Richardson last week. The question is, can they do it against a seasoned veteran? Joe Flacco looked marvelous last week against the Bengals, completing 21 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns. That came on the heels of a solid performance by fifth year running back Ray Rice, who rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
The key for the Eagles defense has to be making the Ravens one dimensional. If the Eagles can stop the run game and force Flacco to throw constantly, they may be able to intercept a few passes. Then again, stopping the run has been a big problem for the Eagles over the past few seasons. We’ll get a better idea if the signing of DeMeco Ryans was the right choice this week.
Last week, Andy Reid did his whole team a disservice by abandoning the run game in the second and third quarters. The Eagles will have to be more balanced on offense if they expect to win this weekend.
On the flip side, Ravens coach John Harbaugh found the weakness in the Bengals defense, and exploited it in the Ravens convincing week one win.
Ravens 24 Eagles 16
I think that the Eagles will struggle to find the endzone against the Ravens. The score will be closer than the game actually is.