Scouting Report

the pick Eagles 13-10

November 23, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY

Ravens run offense vs. Eagles run defense: Willis McGahee gained only 18 yards last Sunday, which tied his season low. The last time he was held to 18 yards was at Indianapolis, and he followed that with 105 yards at Miami. In the past two games, Ray Rice hasn't broken a run longer than 8 yards and Le'Ron McClain hasn't scored a touchdown. Philadelphia is ranked No. 11 against the run despite giving up 100 yards to three running backs in six games. MLB Stewart Bradley, who went to high school with Haloti Ngata, has 33 tackles in his past two games. Look for the Ravens to attack the edges against Philadelphia's undersized defensive ends. Edge: EVEN

Ravens pass offense vs. Eagles pass defense: The Ravens are banged up offensively. Leading receiver Derrick Mason is questionable with a left shoulder injury. LT Jared Gaither (questionable, shoulder) is expected to miss his first game of the season. OTs Adam Terry (left) and Willie Anderson (right) are expected to start despite ankle injuries. The Eagles, who are tied for the NFL lead with 36 sacks, had eight sacks last Sunday at Cincinnati. DE Darren Howard is tied for fifth in the NFC with eight sacks. Although they have standouts Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown at cornerback, the Eagles' secondary hasn't made an interception in three games. Edge: EAGLES

Eagles run offense vs. Ravens run defense: Nursing knee and ankle injuries, RB Brian Westbrook didn't practice all week. In his past three games, he has been held to 100 yards of total offense and hasn't scored a touchdown. There has been a major drop-off at right guard, where Max Jean-Gilles has replaced injured Shawn Andrews. The Ravens are coming off their worst effort against the run in 11 seasons, giving up 207 yards to the Giants last Sunday. The Ravens have allowed an average of 58 yards on the ground in four home games this season. They also haven't surrendered a rushing touchdown this year at M&T Bank Stadium. Edge: RAVENS

Eagles pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense: No quarterback has truly exposed a Ravens secondary that is missing two starters for the season. But the Eagles, who throw 39 times a game, will test this group again and again. QB Donovan McNabb has struggled recently, failing to complete half of his passes the past two games. But Philadelphia ranks third in the NFL with 36 passes of 20 yards or more. FS Ed Reed, who is questionable with a neck injury, hasn't had an interception in eight straight games, the second-longest drought of his career. In their past five games, the Ravens have allowed six passing touchdowns while intercepting eight passes. Edge: EAGLES

Special teams: The Ravens' Yamon Figurs ranks 19th in the NFL on punt returns (6.5 yards) and 34th on kickoff returns (21.2). Philadelphia punt returner DeSean Jackson is 10th in the league (10.3). Ravens K Matt Stover is just 4-for-7 at home on field-goal attempts. The Eagles' David Akers has made eight straight tries. Edge: EAGLES

Intangibles: Both teams need this game to stay in the thick of their playoff races. A loss would drop the Ravens two games behind the Pittsburgh Steelers with five to go. Sitting in last place in the NFC East, Philadelphia has no margin of error for the rest of the season. Since 2000, the Eagles have the NFL's best road record in November and December (27-9-1). The Ravens have won nine of their past 10 home games against the NFC, averaging 32.6 points. Edge: EVEN

Prediction: Ravens coach John Harbaugh knows what the Eagles' blitzing defense can do to most teams. He also knows what Philadelphia can do to teams with banged-up offensive lines. Eagles 13-10

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