By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles have lost four straight games and six of the last seven. Picking up a win should prove to be a difficult task this Sunday as the Eagles head down I-95 to take on the Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore Ravens Season Record: 7-6
The Ravens are coming off a short week to prepare for this week’s game after losing on the road against the New England Patriots on Monday night, 30-23. The loss dropped the Ravens one game out of first place in the AFC North behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. Baltimore plays the Steelers on the road the week after playing the Eagles, and closes out the regular season on the road against Cincinnati with the division on the line.
The Eagles have a 2-1-1 lead in the all-time series against the Ravens.
Ravens on Offense
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has passed for 3,582 yards and is fully capable of exposing the Eagles’ secondary for a big game this Sunday. Baltimore brings the NFL’s seventh-best passing offense into the game with an average of 262 yards per game, which has had to pick up the slack for a lack of a running game.
The Ravens average just 86 rushing yards per game and have just placed running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. Though he was used more for special teams, the Ravens also just cut ties with Devin Hester following a shaky performance on Monday night. The Ravens do not score a lot of points though, so the Eagles could have a chance to keep this one tight if the defense can avoid giving up big plays.
Ravens on Defense
Scoring points against the Ravens has been difficult for many of their opponents this season. The Patriots managed to crack 30 points on Monday night, but no team before New England has managed to score more than 28 points this season. Seven opponents have been held to fewer than 20 points in a game. The Ravens have the NFL’s fourth-best scoring defense and fourth-best total defense.
Baltimore’s is a defense that could cause problems all game long for rookie quarterback Carson Wentz.
Ravens Players to Watch
LB Zac Orr: The third-year player is racking up tackles left and right this season. Zac Orr enters the game with 122 tackles this season, easily leading the team in that category.
WR Mike Wallace: The veteran wide receiver is closing in on a 1,000-yard season. With 903 yards, Mike Wallace needs just 97 more yards to record his first 1,000-yard season since 2011.
The outlook is not too promising for the Eagles. Although the Ravens have been a little up and down this season, they are still well ahead of where the Eagles are, entering this match-up. The Ravens have a proven quarterback in Joe Flacco and an established head coach in John Harbaugh. Baltimore is also motivated with a first-place standing in the AFC North still a realistic goal coming down the final few weeks of the season, and they get to play at home. The Eagles will have to play a very clean and precise game in order to pull off the upset, but doing that against the Ravens is no easy task.