matchups to watch

December 28, 2007|By MIKE PRESTON

HINES WARD STEELERS WR HT: 6-0 WT: 205 YEAR: 10

vs.

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

Ward leads the Steelers in receptions with 71 for 732 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has been a problem for the Ravens over the years and is one of the most ferocious blockers in the NFL. He can play outside or in the slot. Ivy has actually gotten better in the past couple of weeks and even started making plays last week against the Seahawks. Ivy is a tough competitor but is outmatched playing against the No. 1 receiver on most NFL teams. EDGE: WARD

MUSA SMITH RAVENS RB HT: 6-0 WT: 232 YEAR: 5

vs. TROY POLAMALU STEELERS S HT: 5-10 WT: 207 YEAR: 5

Smith is getting his first start of the season. He runs hard and tough and has a good burst. He is a straight-ahead runner, especially compared with Willis McGahee. Polamalu is the key to the Steelers' run defense, and he likes to hang around the line of scrimmage. He is physical, and, usually, when he is playing well, so are the Steelers. The Ravens have to know where Polamalu is before each snap. He is fourth on the team in tackles with 74. EDGE: POLAMALU

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