Scouting report

October 11, 1998|By MIKE PRESTON

Ravens run offense vs. Oilers run defense

The Ravens got a much-needed spark against the Bengals two weeks ago when Priest Holmes ran for 173 yards. The Oilers should provide a better challenge even though they have allowed 120.8 yards a game on the ground. The Ravens have to get to linebackers Lonnie Marts, Joe Bowden and Eddie Robinson, and they need a big game from center Jeff Mitchell.

- EDGE OILERS

Ravens pass offense vs. Oilers pass defense

Outside receivers Jermaine Lewis and Michael Jackson (if healthy) should be able to make some big plays against cornerbacks Darryll Lewis and Denard Walker, especially since both like to press and play man-to-man. Jackson is 6 feet 4 and Darryll Lewis is 5-9, so the lob passes are there. Tight end Eric Green against strong safety Blaine Bishop is an interesting matchup.

- EDGE RAVENS

Oilers run offense vs. Ravens run defense

The Oilers have struggled with the run, averaging only 76.0 yards, next-to-last in the league. The Ravens started out strong against the run, but have fallen off with middle linebacker Ray Lewis sidelined most of the past two games. Tackles Tony Siragusa and James Jones have to get deep penetration against the Oilers' front three of guards Bruce Matthews and Jason Layman and center Mark Stepnoski.

- EDGE RAVENS

Oilers pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

The Oilers' receivers have an edge on the Ravens' cornerbacks, but the equalizer is quarterback Steve McNair. His biggest consistency has been his inconsistency. If the Ravens can stop the Oilers' running game, McNair can't carry the offense. Receiver Yancey Thigpen against cornerback Rod Woodson, both former Steelers, is worth the price of admission.

- EVEN

Special teams

The Ravens and Oilers are about the same as far as punting average, but Tennessee kicker Al Del Greco is having a better season than Matt Stover. The Ravens have a better punt return average, but the Oilers are better on kickoff returns. Jermaine Lewis, though, is unequaled by any return specialist on the Oilers.

- EDGE RAVENS

Key matchup

Ravens quarterback Eric Zeier against Oilers strong safety Bishop. Bishop moves around quite a lot in the Oilers' scheme, and Zeier will have to be at the top of his game to make the proper reads. Bishop has been around six years, so he knows a lot of tricks. Zeier is still young, but he can hold his own as far as calling audibles.

- EVEN

Intangibles

The Oilers are desperate for a win and are 0-2 in the AFC Central. The Ravens need this one because they're on the road next for games against Pittsburgh and Green Bay before playing host to Jacksonville. The Ravens need to establish a winning streak at home, and a victory would give them a 2-2 mark in the division.

- EDGE RAVENS

Prediction

The Ravens will stuff the Oilers' running game and constantly flush McNair out of the pocket. The Ravens win, 27-24.

- EDGE RAVENS

`

Ravens schedule

Date .... ..... Opponent ........ Result/Time

9-6 ..... ..... Pittsburgh ....... L, 20-13

9-13 .... ..... at N.Y. Jets ..... W, 24-10

9-20 .... ..... at Jacksonville .. L, 24-10

.... ..... Cincinnati ....... W, 31-24

10-4 .... ..... Open

10-11 ... ..... Tennessee ........ 1: 01 p.m.

... ..... at Pittsburgh .... 1: 01 p.m.

10-25 ... ..... at Green Bay ..... 1: 01 p.m.

11-1 .... ..... Jacksonville ..... 1: 01 p.m.

.... ..... Oakland ...... ... 1: 01 p.m.

11-15 ... ..... at San Diego . ... 4: 05 p.m.

11-22 ... ..... at Cincinnati. ... 4: 15 p.m.

11-29 ... ..... Indianapolis . ... 1: 01 p.m.

12-6 .... ..... at Tennessee . ... 4: 15 p.m.

12-13 ... ..... Minnesota .... ... 4: 15 p.m.

12-20 ... ..... at Chicago ... ... 1: 01 p.m.

12-27 ... ..... Detroit ...... ... 1: 01 p.m.

`

Oilers schedule

Date .... ..... Opponent ..... ... Result/Time

9-6 ..... ..... at Cincinnati. ... W, 23-14

.... ..... San Diego .... ... L, 13-7

9-20 .... ..... at New England ... L, 27-16

9-27 .... ..... Jacksonville ..... L, 27-22

10-4 .... ..... Open

10-11 ... ..... at Ravens ........ 1: 01 p.m.

10-18 ... ..... Cincinnati ....... 1: 01 p.m.

... ..... Chicago ..... .... 4: 05 p.m.

11-1 .... ..... at Pittsburgh .... 1: 01 p.m.

11-8 .... ..... at Tampa Bay ..... 8: 20 p.m.

11-15 ... ..... Pittsburgh ....... 1: 01 p.m.

... ..... N.Y. Jets ........ 4: 15 p.m.

11-29 ... ..... at Seattle .. .... 4: 05 p.m.

12-6 .... ..... Ravens ...... .... 4: 15 p.m.

12-13 ... ..... at Jacksonville .. 1: 01 p.m.

12-20 ... ..... at Green Bay ..... 1: 01 p.m.

12-26 ... ..... Minnesota ........ 12: 35 p.m.

Pub Date: 10/11/98

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