The Baltimore Ravens (4-1) travel up I-95 to Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday to face the Philadelphia Eagles (1-3-1). The Ravens come into the game after a beatdown of Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals 27-3. Meanwhile, the Eagles came up short against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 38-29 loss at Heinz Field. The Eagles will have fans in the stands this week but there may be more boos then cheers come Sunday. Will the Eagles linebackers continue to disappoint? What are the keys to the game?
1. Eagles Linebackers vs the Ravens Running Attack
Nate Gerry and company will have their hands full against a power rushing attack from the Ravens. The offense is unlike other offenses as it is based off of the quarterback, Lamar Jackson, running the football. Lamar leads the number 2 ranked rushing offense with 238 yards. The Ravens shuffle their 5.6 YPC load between Jackson, Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and JK Dobbins. The Eagles rank in the bottom half of the league giving up 571 yards on the ground. Jim Schwartz will have to sell out against the run by bringing the Safeties in the box. The linebackers will eventually give up the big play. Watch out for Devin DuVernay on an end around much like Chase Claypool last week.
2. Can the Eagles Offense Score Enough?
The Ravens are the number 1 ranked defense as far as points given up this season (76). Take out the Chiefs game in which they gave up 34 points they only give up 10.5 points per game. Include the Chiefs game the average is 15.2 points per game. The Eagles offense is nowhere close to the Chiefs. On a positive note, the Eagles were able to put up 29 points against the Steelers last week. The place to attack the Ravens is through the air who are middle of the pack in that category. Wentz has showed if he has confidence in a receiver he will get him the ball. Is Travis Fulgham a fluke or will Fulghamania run wild?
“I think he showed last week that there was no fluke, The big touchdown catch against the Niners, I think he showed last week that it wasn’t a fluke. He’s a big-time player and we’ve seen what he’s done in practice now for a while and how he’s kind of come along within our offense, within our system.”Carson Wentz on Travis Fulgham
The Ravens defensive backs are a more physical bunch adding to an interesting matchup to see win or lose for the birds. I believe the Eagles are going to have to score 30 plus points to win this game. The Ravens average 29.8 points per game which has come from their offense, defense, and special teams.
3. AGAIN, the Eagles Linebackers
Did I mention the Eagles Linebackers? I mean, seriously this a huge issue. Week after week, they are out of position almost every play led by Nate Gerry. Mark Andrews is one of the best tight ends in football. Per Jimmy Kempski, The Eagles have allowed 32 catches for 323 yards and 5 TDs to tight ends this season. He points out the Chase Claypool is used as a tight end often in the Steelers offense. It is a complete mess and most likely will be a mess on Sunday. Do they care about the Linebackers? R-Diddy says NO!
4. The Eagles Offensive Line vs the Ravens Front
Everyone has to be impressed with the progression of Jordan Mailata who could be the Eagles left tackle of the future. Mailata has yet another test against another impressive defensive line. The Ravens unlike the Steelers will move their defensive lineman around with different looks for the offensive line. The Eagles offensive line will have to know every player on the line as opposed to just studying one matchup. The Ravens also blitz 44.5% of the time and seem to always get an open shot at the quarterback. With Lane Johnson and Matt Pryor out this is going to be a challenge to see if they can give Carson time to throw the ball. Jack Driscoll and Jamon Brown will get the start. Another week, another group of offensive lineman for Carson Wentz.
The Ravens opened up at 7 point favorites and most books have them as high as 9 going into Friday morning. Personally, I don’t give the Eagles much of a chance to win this game. The Ravens offense is going to run right through the Eagles linebackers to the point the Eagles will sell out against the run. It will then be man to man coverage on the outside which our secondary cannot sustain. The 7500 fans in the stands may be leaving early and the boo birds will be out. I am calling L.J. Fort causing a turnover or some big play right now. The Eagles offensive will score a late touchdown to make it look closer then the score will show.
Ravens 31 – Eagles 23
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Photo Credit: Tim Tai of the Philadelphia Inquirer