Scouting report

November 16, 1997|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Eagles run defense Edge

This is one of the most interesting battles because the Ravens have a physical offensive line that dominates, and the Eagles are small but extremely active. The Ravens' guards have to control tackles Hollis Thomas and Rhett Hall and middle linebacker James Willis. Look for the Ravens to attack defensive ends Greg Jefferson and Mike Mamula.

Edge -- Eagles

Ravens pass offense vs. Eagles pass defense

Everything about the Eagles' statistics are misleading because their special teams are so bad. Philadelphia has the fifth-ranked pass defense in the league, and the Ravens probably will go after cornerback Charles Dimry with receiver Michael Jackson or Derrick Alexander. The X-factors in this matchup are quarterback Vinny Testaverde, his turnovers and how well the offensive line protects him.

Edge -- Ravens

Eagles run offense vs. Ravens run defense

The Ravens' run defense has been playing well lately and the Eagles have no clue what they will get from running back Ricky Watters every week. Eagles center Steve Everitt and left guard Bubba Miller need to improve after getting embarrassed by 49ers defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield in last Monday night's loss to San Francisco.

Edge -- Ravens

Eagles pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

Philadelphia quarterback Bobby Hoying is young, but the Ravens still have problems in the secondary. They don't have a cornerback who can match up with Eagles receiver Irving Fryar, but the Ravens' front four -- tackles Tony Siragusa and James Jones and ends Rob Burnett and Michael McCrary -- should be able to pressure Hoying.

Edge -- Even

Special teams

No laughing please. The Eagles have some of the most pathetic special teams in the league, allowing 28.0 yards per kickoff return and 11.6 per punt. Despite poor kickoff coverage, the Ravens' special teams have been consistent most of the season and kicker Matt Stover has been outstanding. The Ravens clearly must take advantage of this matchup to win.

Edge -- Ravens

Key matchup

Eagles left guard Bubba Miller vs. Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa. Let's face it, Miller was a laughingstock against Stubblefield last Monday night. Siragusa doesn't have Stubblefield's quickness, but he has more bulk and strength.

Edge -- Ravens

Intangibles

Both teams are coming off poor performances and big losses. The Ravens are home, but they don't seem to play well here. The Eagles, despite their record, still have a shot at the victory even though they are starting Hoying instead of Ty Detmer or Rodney Peete.

Edge -- Eagles

Prediction

Other inexperienced quarterbacks have had success against the Ravens, but this time they will shut down Hoying. The Eagles also have too many injuries to compete. Ravens by 3.

Edge -- Ravens

Keys to a Ravens victory

1 Run the ball. The Ravens' offensive line has a huge weight advantage against the Eagles' defensive line.

2 Special teams. The Ravens must take advantage of the Eagles' poor special teams play.

3 Pressure Bobby Hoying. The Eagles' third-string quarterback is making his first NFL start.

Pub Date: 11/16/97

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