Scouting report

October 21, 2007|By Jamison Hensley

Ravens run offense vs. Bills run defense

Willis McGahee is coming off his worst game as a Raven, gaining 61 yards last Sunday on 2.4 yards a carry. Much of his problem was a lack of holes created by a young offensive line, which is starting three rookies for a second straight game. But McGahee will be motivated in his first game back in Buffalo and will look to exploit the 25th-ranked run defense. Having already lost middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, the Bills are playing with undersized linemen and linebackers. Edge: Ravens

Ravens pass offense vs. Bills pass defense

Kyle Boller replaces injured quarterback Steve McNair (back) and makes his first road start in two years. He has thrown multiple interceptions in seven of his 17 career starts away from home. The Ravens will be without Todd Heap (hamstring) and Daniel Wilcox (foot), leaving them thin at tight end. A banged-up Bills secondary has allowed three 300-yard passers this season and has given up 21 passes of 20 or more yards (second most in the NFL). Buffalo, which has the second-worst pass defense in the league, is expected to start two third-string players, cornerback Jabari Greer and free safety George Wilson. Edge: Even

Bills run offense vs. Ravens run defense

Rookie running back Marshawn Lynch has not gained 100 yards this season, and his yards-per-carry average has decreased the past two games. Dating to last season, the Ravens haven't allowed a team to gain 100 net rushing yards in nine straight games, the longest streak in the NFL. In the past two games, opponents have been held to 2.5 yards per carry. The Ravens have given up just one rushing touchdown, which is tied for second fewest in the league. Former Maryland center Melvin Fowler will try to match up against Ray Lewis. Edge: Ravens

Bills pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

The loss of cornerback Chris McAlister (knee) will hurt the Ravens. Corey Ivy, who replaces McAlister, is a solid nickel back but sometimes struggles as a starter. The Ravens' other corner, Samari Rolle, will make his first start since Sept. 16 after missing time with an undisclosed illness. Buffalo rookie quarterback Trent Edwards, who makes his third career start, is more of a game manager. The Bills' big-play receiver, Lee Evans, doesn't have a catch of more than 22 yards and has no touchdowns. Ravens safety Ed Reed has an interception in three straight games. Edge: Even

Special teams

The Bills have scored a touchdown on a punt return (Roscoe Parrish) and on kickoff return (Terrence McGee). Ravens return specialist Yamon Figurs is among the NFL's best, averaging 17.2 yards on punts and 33.4 yards on kickoffs. Bills punter Brian Moorman has been up to his Pro Bowl form with a 45.3-yard average, but the Ravens' Sam Koch isn't far behind with a 44.1-yard average. Ravens kicker Matt Stover has made 14 field goals in his past four games, and the Bills' Rian Lindell is 2-for-4 on field goals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Edge: Even

Intangibles

The Ravens have not looked sharp on the road this season, scoring two offensive touchdowns in three games away from home. Buffalo has done well coming off a bye, winning the past two times by an average of 12 1/2 points. The Ravens are desperately trying to get to their bye next week, playing without six injured starters today (McNair, Heap, offensive tackles Jonathan Ogden and Adam Terry, defensive lineman Trevor Pryce and McAlister). The Bills are 1-2 at home, but the two losses have been by a total of two points. Edge: Bills

Prediction

In a game matching two of the lowest-scoring teams in the NFL, the only drama will be provided by McGahee, who will deliver the game-winning touchdown. Bills fans once endured four straight Super Bowl losses, so they are used to misery. Ravens, 13-10

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