Tonight's Matchups To Watch

January 18, 2009|By MIKE PRESTON

Ravens OT Jared Gaither vs. Steelers OLB James Harrison

Gaither is in only his second season in the NFL, his first as a starter. He has great physical tools and is athletic. He has struggled at times this season, but overall, he has played well. The Ravens have provided him with a lot of help, chipping with tight ends and running backs. That won't change against Harrison, who has great speed and cutting ability, and uses his leverage well. He earned being named the Defensive Player of the Year.

Edge: Harrison:

Ravens WR Derrick Mason vs. Steelers CB Ike Taylor

If there is such a thing as a weak link on Pittsburgh's defense, it's Taylor. Everybody picks on him, and he has his good days and his bad days. He has bad hands. If Taylor has an off-day, the Ravens might manage some big plays. Mason runs excellent routes and still has a lot of juice left in his legs. He has become the Ravens' go-to receiver and leader on offense.

Edge: Mason:

Ravens RB Le'Ron McClain vs. Steelers S Troy Polamalu

Polamalu is a thumper and a presence in the box. He has no regard for his body and flies around the field with abandon. Polamalu, though, at times becomes too eager to hit someone and overruns plays. McClain is a guard in a running back's body. He is a straight-ahead runner with good power and body lean. There should be some violent collisions when McClain and Polamalu meet.

Edge: Polamalu:

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.