Ravens Vs. Seahawks

Nfl Week 12

Today, 1 P.m., M&t Bank Stadium, Ch. 45

November 23, 2003|By JAMISON HENSLEY

SCOUTING REPORT

Ravens run offense vs. Seahawks run defense -- RAVENS

Jamal Lewis has showed signs of slowing down, with more fumbles (two) than 100-yard games (one) in the past three weeks. But Lewis, who still leads the NFL in rushing, will have a solid chance to rebound against the Seahawks. The Ravens' offensive line -- which is the biggest in the league -- has a distinct size advantage over Seattle's average front four. Ranked 16th in run defense, the Seahawks have allowed three running backs to gain at least 99 yards. In four home games, Lewis has averaged 153 yards rushing.

Ravens pass offense vs. Seahawks pass defense -- SEAHAWKS

Much of the Ravens' troubles boil down to their passing game. They rank last in the league in passing yards per game (127.3), yards per attempt (5.4) and sacks per pass play (10 percent). Anthony Wright makes his second start for the Ravens at quarterback and is surrounded by a banged-up receiving corps. Frank Sanders (ankle) and Marcus Robinson (chest) are both expected to play and join Travis Taylor, who is second in the league in drops (eight). The strength of the Seahawks' defense is their secondary, but Seattle surprisingly ranks just 14th in pass defense. In four road games, the Seahawks have allowed seven touchdowns through the air.

Seahawks run offense vs. Ravens run defense -- SEAHAWKS

Shaun Alexander is a power back who is tied for second in the NFC in total touchdowns (10), fourth in first downs (48) and fifth in rushing (835 yards). His highest rushing average (4.8 yards) comes behind tackle Walter Jones and guard Steve Hutchinson, who form one of the most dominant left sides in the NFL. A telling matchup will be the Seahawks' tough fullback, Mack Strong, against Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. For three of the past four weeks, the Ravens have allowed teams to crack 100 yards rushing, but they have made them work for it. The Ravens give up 3.5 yards per carry, which is fourth best in the NFL.

Seahawks pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense -- RAVENS

The Ravens have held each of their past four opponents to under 200 net yards passing. Over that stretch, quarterbacks have completed just 52 percent of their passes (64-for-123), throwing for one touchdown and six interceptions. As a result, the Ravens have kept those four teams to under 27 percent third-down efficiency. Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's quarterback rating on third downs (110.3) ranks second in the NFC. In his second season as a starter, he has been consistent despite his receiving corps dropping numerous passes. The Seahawks spread the ball around, with Alexander, Darrell Jackson, Koren Robinson and Bobby Engram all having 30 catches or more.

Special teams -- EVEN

The Ravens' coverage teams have been outstanding, but Seattle's punt coverage ranks first in the NFL (5.2 yards per return) and its kickoff coverage is 10th (20.8 yards). The Ravens have the edge in kicking. Matt Stover has converted 12 straight field-goal attempts, all of which have come in the past four games, while Seahawks rookie Josh Brown has missed three of his past 10 attempts. The Ravens' Lamont Brightful has broken a long return (either punt or kickoff) in each of his past three games.

Intangibles -- RAVENS

Ravens coach Brian Billick has a knack for rallying a team when times get tough. After losing two straight games, the Ravens are feeling the urgency to keep pace with the surging Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens are 3-1 at home, winning by an average margin of 15.6 points. All of Seattle's losses this season have come on the road, and the Seahawks are 2-4 on cross-country trips since 2001.

Prediction -- RAVENS

This is essentially a must-win game for the Ravens and they'll receive some help from a Seattle team that struggles on the road. In another game determined by turnovers, the Ravens will be the beneficiaries this time. Ravens, 26-20.

GAME FACTS

Records

Seahawks 7-3 Ravens 5-5

Line

Ravens by 3

Vs. spread

Seahawks 4-6 Ravens 6-4

Series

Ravens lead 1-0

Last meeting

Ravens won, 31-24, on Dec. 7, 1997, in Baltimore.

NFL rankings

Seahawks offense: Overall (10), rush (8), pass (13).

Seahawks defense: Overall (20), rush (16), pass (14).

Ravens offense: Overall (24), rush (2), pass (32).

Ravens defense: Overall (3), rush (8), pass (3).

Quick hits

The Seahawks are 10-2 when RB Shaun Alexander rushes for 100 yards or more.

The Seahawks have converted 47.2 percent of their third downs, best in the NFL.

The Seahawks are plus-6 in turnover differential; the Ravens are minus-5.

Ravens RB Jamal Lewis has rushed for 100 yards in seven games this season.

The Ravens are 11-7 (.611) in November under coach Brian Billick.

Injuries

SEAHAWKS: Questionable: LB Randall Godfrey (chest); LB D.D. Lewis (hip); S Damien Robinson (shoulder). Probable: S Ken Hamlin (knee); RB Maurice Morris (toe).

RAVENS: Out: QB Kyle Boller (leg). Doubtful: TE John Jones (leg). Questionable: WR Marcus Robinson (chest); WR Frank Sanders (ankle); DE Tony Weaver (neck).

STARTING LINEUPS

Ravens offense

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