Scouting report

December 07, 1997|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Seahawks run defense

The Ravens should be able to run on the Seahawks, especially with Cortez Kennedy out with an ankle injury and fellow defensive tackle Dan Saleaumua slowed by a bruised foot. The Ravens are averaging 107.4 rushing yards per game and Seattle is allowing 114.2. The key for the Ravens is to get an early lead and milk the clock with a running game.

Edge -- Ravens

Ravens pass offense vs. Seahawks pass defense

In the past, this would have been a no-brainer, but no one knows how the receivers will play anymore since they are unhappy that the team has gone to a run-oriented offense, plus Eric Zeier is subbing for the injured Vinny Testaverde. and Willie Williams is strong at the right cornerback position, so the Ravens will go after Fred Thomas on the left side. Receiver Michael Jackson could have a big day, and slot receiver Jermaine Lewis could have a bigger one.

Edge -- EVEN

Seahawks run offense vs. Ravens run defense

Seattle could pose a challenge up front for the Ravens, but right guard Derrick Graham and right tackle Howard Ballard are expected to miss their third straight games. The Seahawks have gone from a trio of running backs to virtually one in Chris Warren, and the Ravens should be able to shut them down up front.

Edge -- Ravens

Seahawks pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

This is no contest. Seattle has the No. 1 passing offense in the league and one of the finest quarterbacks to ever throw a football in Warren Moon. The Ravens will counter with an inexperienced secondary. Look for the Seahawks to go after right cornerback DeRon Jenkins early in the game and try to match up one-on-one with one of the safeties in the Ravens' nickel and dime packages.

Edge -- Seahawks

Key matchup

Seattle is without its two top offensive linemen on the right side in Graham and Ballard. Teams have been able to apply pressure on that side and that's where the Ravens have strong-side linebacker Peter Boulware and end Rob Burnett going against Seattle guard Frank Beede and tackle Grant Williams.

Edge -- Ravens

Special teams

There is actually a team out there with special teams that are worse than the Ravens'. Seattle's units have played a key role in the team losing its past three games. The Ravens also have better specialists in punter Greg Montgomery and kicker Matt Stover.

Edge -- Ravens

Intangibles

There are some who believe that the Seahawks packed it in after losing three in a row, including 24-17 to the Atlanta Falcons last week. One of the Ravens' strengths is that they won't quit, but their inexperience on defense may be too much to overcome.

Edge -- EVEN

Prediction

The Seahawks may have underachieved this season, but they won't today. Moon flies high over Baltimore. Seahawks by four.

Keys to a Ravens victory

1. Get a lead, establish the running game and keep Seahawks quarterback Warren Moon off the field.

2. Put pressure on Moon, because if he has time to throw, he'll eat up the Ravens' secondary.

3. Take advantage of Seattle's special teams and win the field-position battle.

Pub Date: 12/07/97

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