Scouting report

December 14, 1997|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Oilers run defense

This is more of a challenge because the Oilers have the No. 5 run defense in the league, allowing only 101.9 yards a game. As always, Ravens guards Jeff Blackshear and Wally Williams and center Quentin Neujahr have to win the battle in the middle because offensive tackles Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Brown should be able to handle ends Anthony Cook and James Roberson. -- EDGE, EVEN

Ravens pass offense vs. Oilers pass defense

What pass defense? The Oilers are allowing 235.0 passing yards a game, so they'll go after Ravens quarterback Eric Zeier with a lot of blitzes. The Ravens' receiving corps might be the healthiest, both mentally and physically, it has been all year, and look for the team to take advantage of slot receiver Jermaine Lewis against cornerback Steve Jackson. -- EDGE, RAVENS

Oilers run offense vs. Ravens run defense

The Ravens held running back Eddie George to 40 yards on 10 carries in the first meeting, but that's because coach Jeff Fisher tried to catch the Ravens off-guard with the passing of quarterback Steve McNair. George doesn't look as energized as he was earlier in the season, but he is still one of the best backs in the league, and the Oilers have a dominating offensive line. --


Oilers pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

This is not one of the game's best matchups. The Oilers have no clue when it comes to a passing game. McNair has been inconsistent and the Ravens should be able to force him out of the pocket, taking some pressure off their inexperienced secondary. If the Oilers go to maximum pass protection, they could have some success against the Ravens' secondary. --


Special teams

Lewis gives the Ravens an edge with his return ability, but the team still needs to do a better job on kickoff coverage, having allowed 23.2 yards a return. Neither punter is having a great year, but Ravens kicker Matt Stover is more consistent on field-goal attempts than Al Del Greco, though the Oilers' kicker has converted on 51- and 52-yarders this season. -- EDGE, RAVENS


The Oilers have two things to prove: that they are better than the team that lost, 36-10, to the Ravens in Week 4, and that they are better than the team that laid down in a 41-14 loss to the Bengals last week. The Ravens want to end the season with a winning streak, and maybe some of the emotion from today's closing ceremonies at Memorial Stadium will rub off on the team. -- EDGE, EVEN

Key matchup

Oilers center Mark Stepnoski vs. Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis. The last time they played, the Ravens frequently lined head-up against Stepnoski to keep him off Lewis and the other linebackers because Stepnoski has outstanding speed. It will be interesting to see what strategy both teams use today. -- EDGE, EVEN


Earlier in the season, some of the Ravens would talk trash after victories. After they beat the Oilers today, it will be interesting to see if they have matured. Ravens by two in another squeaker. -- EDGE, RAVENS

Pub Date: 12/14/97


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