The Eagles played horribly offensively last week against the Browns, they turned the ball over 5 times, but somehow walked out of Cleveland with a win. Quarterback Mike Vick threw 4 INT’s, made basic mistakes that a veteran QB can not make. They face a Baltimore Ravens team that can score points and play defense, and will take advantage of a team that turns the ball over. Even after the Eagles poor showing last week, Vegas has the Eagles as a 2.5-3 point favorite at it’s major places to bet games.
The Philadelphia Eagles are happy to hear that both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin will be active today and start. Their ability to stretch the field is a big plus, as we know that Ravens Safety Ed Reed is the best ball hawking safety we’ve seen. The Eagles need to have a better game plan against the Ravens defense, if the Eagles call 61 passes this week, it probably will result in a loss. I would isolate running back Shady McCoy in the middle of the field against Ray Lewis and his teammates at linebacker. When I looked back at the coaches tape from the Browns game, there were many occasions in which Tight End Brent Celek was open and Vick didn’t find him. If Celek can have a big game, the Eagles have a great chance of winning today.
The Baltimore Ravens for the first time in franchise history, probably has a better offense then defense. Joe Flacco really grew up in the playoffs in 2011 and the Ravens coaches have opened the offense up more, allowing him to throw the ball downfield. We all know what kind of player Ray Rice is, a dual threat who is as dangerous in passing game as he is running the ball. Demeco Ryans played great last week, as did rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks, but they will get tested by not only Ray Rice, but Anquan Boldin and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson as well. The Ravens will take their shots downfield to Torrey Smith, but won’t make a habit of taking deep drops because of the Eagles ability to rush the passer.
The Eagles were great defensively last week. Did it help that Brandon Weeden stinks and can’t play, yes it did, but I was still impressed. The Eagles played the run great, the defensive tackles and linebackers were stout, strong and physical, and made tackles. The defensive line did what expected them to do vs the pass, they got pressure on the QB. Finally the Nnamdi and DRC were allowed to play press coverage, doing what they do best. This week the Eagles will have to be even better, the Ravens are better across the board, they will be tested, but I think the have the talent and capabilities to do it.
The Ravens defense showed well last week vs the Bengals, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed somehow are still playing at a high level, even this late in their careers. But they are still without NFL Defensive player of the year Terrell Suggs, their best playmaker and pass rusher. In week 1, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was very disruptive with two sacks. The Eagles interior of their offensive line had problems with Atiya Ruben of the Browns, who isn’t no where near the player that Ngata is. A player of his caliber could win this game on his own.
Prediction: Vick probably played the worst game of his career last week, I don’t see him playing that bad and hopefully it will be because head coach Andy Reid takes the ball out of his hands and gives it to Shady McCoy a bit more. The Ravens like to run the ball, but look for them to use play action, leave a extra blocker in to handle the pass rush and go after the Eagles safeties and linebackers down the field.
I like the Eagles to win a close one: Eagles 24 Ravens 23