Matchups To Watch

Ravens Weekend

November 30, 2007|By MIKE PRESTON

WES WELKER PATRIOTS WR HT: 5-9 WT: 185 YEAR: 4

COREY IVY RAVENS CB HT: 5-9 WT: 188 YEAR: 7

It's remarkable how Welker and quarterback Tom Brady have clicked in their first season together. Welker has great hands, acceleration and speed. Working out of the slot, he is a mismatch for most No. 3 cornerbacks or safeties. He has become a top weapon, especially when opponents double-team receiver Randy Moss on the outside. Ivy has had problems at cornerback, and it won't get any easier for him against Welker. Ivy is tough, but he's slow in recognition. If starting cornerback Chris McAlister doesn't play, then Derrick Martin will draw Welker out of the slot. That's not good for the Ravens, either.

EDGE: WELKER

MIKE FLYNN RAVENS C HT: 6-3 WT: 305 YEAR: 10

VINCE WILFORK PATRIOTS NT HT: 6-2 WT: 325 YEAR: 4

Wilfork holds his own against just about everybody in the league. He is solid and sound technically, and very few teams run up the middle against him. The Ravens probably won't have much success there either, especially since the Patriots are familiar with running back Willis McGahee. Flynn is strong as a pass blocker but gives ground against bigger tackles. The Ravens are used to going against good run stoppers in the middle because they have two of the best in Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata. Look for Flynn to get a lot of help from guards Ben Grubbs and Jason Brown.

EDGE: WILFORK

JARRET JOHNSON RAVENS LB HT: 6-3 WT: 270 YEAR: 5

NICK KACZUR PATRIOTS OT HT: 6-4 WT: 315 YEAR: 3

If you want to slow the Patriots, you have to bring pressure off the edge, and Kaczur has been the Patriots' weak link. Kaczur seems to lose focus at times and has trouble with speed guys. The spin move works well against him. Johnson isn't known for his speed, but he is a high-motor guy. He is solid as a pass rusher and could put some pressure on Brady. The Ravens also might move Terrell Suggs over to challenge Kaczur, and it wouldn't be surprising if Bart Scott rushed more off the edge than usual.

EDGE: JOHNSON

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