Scouting Report Jamison Hensley

SCOUTING REPORT

December 07, 2009|By jamison hensley

Ravens run offense vs. Packers run defense: The Packers have one of the hottest run defenses in the NFL. Green Bay gave up 141 yards to the Cincinnati Bengals' Cedric Benson in Week 2 and 117 to the St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson in Week 3, since then has allowed more than 61 yards in a game only to the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson (97 yards in Week 8). Over his past eight games, the Ravens' Ray Rice has averaged 78.6 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns on the ground. On Nov. 29, he gashed the league's top run defense for 19 yards on four straight carries in overtime. Fullback Le'Ron McClain, who injured his chest in that game, is probable. Edge: EVEN

Ravens pass offense vs. Packers pass defense: Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson has been one of the league's best defensive players. In his past three games, he has three interceptions, three forced fumbles and one touchdown. Woodson held the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson to two catches for 10 yards on Thanksgiving and now sets his sights on Derrick Mason. Joe Flacco, who has an ankle injury, was sacked a season-worst five times against Pittsburgh. The Packers have recorded 22 quarterback hits in their past two home games. Edge: PACKERS

Packers run offense vs. Ravens run defense: For all the concern about the Ravens' run defense earlier this season, the team has given up the fewest yards in the NFL per carry (3.5). Ray Lewis and teammates have stopped running backs behind the line of scrimmage 33 times this season, tied for third most in the league. Green Bay running back Ryan Grant, who is dealing with a shoulder injury, bounced back from a season-low 30 yards rushing on Nov. 1; in his past four games (two of which came against top-10 run defenses), he has averaged 91 rushing yards. Edge: EVEN

Packers pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense: Aaron Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdown passes and one interception at Lambeau Field this season. In the past two weeks, Rodgers has completed 71 percent of his passes for 692 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He spreads the ball around to wide receivers Donald Driver (53 catches for 845 yards and five touchdowns) and Greg Jennings (47 for 722 and three). The Ravens haven't recorded a sack in two games without Terrell Suggs, who is doubtful with a sprained knee. Free safety Ed Reed, who has ankle and hip injuries, is questionable but is expected to start. Edge: PACKERS

Special teams: The Packers' return and coverage teams all rank 22nd in the NFL or worse. The Ravens' Chris Carr, who averaged a season-high 14.2 yards on punt returns last Sunday, could have opportunities against Green Bay, which ranks 28th in punt coverage. Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff is coming off a game that he tied with 1:51 left in regulation and won in overtime. The Packers' Mason Crosby has hit six of his past seven field-goal attempts. Green Bay's Jordy Nelson dropped the game-opening kickoff on Thanksgiving, setting up the Lions' only touchdown of the game. Against Pittsburgh, four penalties on the Ravens' return teams resulted in a net loss of 78 yards. Edge: RAVENS

Intangibles: The Ravens historically have trouble keeping their intensity after emotional wins over Pittsburgh. In the past six years, the Ravens have lost three times after big victories over their AFC North rival. Consistency has been a problem all season for the Ravens, who haven't won back-to-back games since September. With Green Bay playing on Thanksgiving, the Packers had three more days of rest than the Ravens. Since 2000, the Packers are 18-4 in regular-season home games in December and January, fourth best in the NFL. Penalties have hurt both the Packers (first in NFL with 87 penalties) and the Ravens (fourth with 78). Edge: PACKERS

Prediction: This is a bad matchup for the Ravens' defense. The Ravens won't consistently pressure Rodgers, and they can't cover Driver and Jennings for extended periods. Big plays will take a big toll on the Ravens' playoff chances. PACKERS, 27-17

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