The Ravens will take a short drive up I 95 on Sunday when they face the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Philly barely squeaked by Cleveland (Yes Cleveland) last Sunday in a game that ended on the final drive. Mike Vick played an abysmal game for most of the day, but put together at the end to lead a touchdown drive to seal the game. He had over 300 yards and 2 TD’s, but also barely completed 50% of his passes while completing 4 more to the other team.
Now, Cleveland’s defense isn’t horrible, and Joe Haden’s suspension had yet to kick in, but it doesn’t excuse the Eagles pitiful play. The defense was solid, keeping Brandon Weeden at bay. Of course, that isn’t much of a feat. Trent Richardson was also pretty ineffective, but he is still a rookie and coming off a knee injury. It is hard to judge the defense against such a pitiful offense. So I’ll focus on their offense. The biggest concern to me will be their running game. LeSean McCoy has to be considered in the elite tier at running backs by now. He was probably the only player on either offense last game that didn’t embarrass himself. Considering Baltimore actually gave up some running yards to a much less talent BenJarvus Green-Ellis, McCoy should concern Baltimore at least a bit. Vick is also a talent runner, which could slow down the Ravens blitz attack. If they over commit rushing the QB, they could leave themselves vulnerable for some big down field runs by Vick.
The Eagles are still an ultra-talented team. They will likely be out to redeem themselves after last week, which makes me a bit nervous. They have explosive players all over the field, and we have seen that when Vick is on his game, he is very difficult to stop. At the moment Jeremy Maclin is listed as Questionable, which could be a big break. He hurt his hip during the Cleveland game, and either way will likely be less than 100%. Still, DeSean Jackson is available. His speed will be tough to match and with Ed Reed also less than perfect after a hamstring injury they have to put more focus on him over the top. Vick certainly has the arm to bomb one deep to his track star receiver.
For the Ravens offense, expect more of the same looks that we saw last week. It worked to perfection, so changes don’t seem likely, regardless of the opponent. In what could be a closer game, however, we could see more carries for Ray Rice. The Pro Bowl back saw just 10 carries last game, so I certainly expect at least a few more. I’ll have more updates as the week goes on.