Eagles-Ravens scouting report
When the Eagles have the ball The Eagles could start their sixth offensive line combination of the season on Sunday and are missing two of their top three running backs. That's a bad recipe against the NFL's fourth-ranked defense, which is No. 1 in the NF
When the Eagles have the ball
The Eagles could start their sixth offensive line combination of the season on Sunday and are missing two of their top three running backs. That's a bad recipe against the NFL's fourth-ranked defense, which is No. 1 in the NFL against the run. Allen Barbre is questionable, but he did not practice this week and isn't likely to start at right tackle. Rookie Isaac Seumalo, an interior lineman who has not played tackle this season, would replace Barbre. Running back Darren Sproles is out with a concussion, and Wendell Smallwood is out for the season, making Ryan Mathews and Kenjon Barner the top running backs. Coach Doug Pederson wants the Eagles to have a more balanced offense than they've had in recent weeks, but running will be a challenge against a defense that is keeping opponents to 75.5 rushing yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. The run defense is led by linebackers C.J. Mosley and Zach Orr, who patrol the middle of the field. Nose tackle Brandon Williams will be a load for center Jason Kelce. The Eagles have attempted more than 30 carries in a game just once since September and have been held under 4 yards per carry in the last two games.
In the passing game, quarterback Carson Wentz needs Seumalo to stop Elvis Dumervil from rushing around his edge. Terrell Suggs comes around the other side and will be blocked by Jason Peters. Suggs leads the Ravens with eight sacks. Wentz has averaged 46.75 pass attempts during the Eagles' four-game losing streak. With questions on the offensive line, the Eagles might need their tight ends to help with blocking. . Dorial Green-Beckham returns at wide receiver after missing the last game, and the Eagles will finally have a full complement of wide receivers. The Ravens secondary is vulnerable with top cornerback Jimmy Smith out on Sunday. The Ravens will rely on rookie Tavon Young, a Temple product who has two interceptions this season.
When the Eagles attempt field goals or punts, pay attention to the long snapper. Rick Lovato replaces Jon Dorenbos, who is out for the season with a wrist injury.
When the Ravens have the ball
The Ravens offense is led by quarterback Joe Flacco, an Audubon native who has attempted a league-high 549 passes this season. Baltimore likes to throw the ball, especially since former Eagles assistant Marty Mornhinweg became offensive coordinator. Flacco is completing 65.2 percent of his passes and averages 10 yards per completion and 6.5 yards per attempt. He has the arm strength to stretch the field and wide receivers who can help - especially Mike Wallace, who has 62 catches for 903 yards and four touchdowns this season. He has receptions for 90, 70, and 66 yards, so an Eagles defense that has allowed 13 completions of 40-plus yards will be tested. Wallace is complemented by veteran Steve Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta, both of whom are capable of big games. The Eagles are at full-strength in their secondary. Rodney McLeod is going to be important Sunday as the deep safety trying to limit Baltimore's big plays. The Eagles can neutralize Baltimore's passing attack if they can get an effective pass rush. The Ravens have allowed 25 sacks this season, but the Eagles have been inconsistent applying pressure. Pay attention to Fletcher Cox's matchup against guard Vladimir Ducasse. Cox had 11/2 sacks last week. Connor Barwin will try to put pressure on rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Barwin has not recorded a sack since Nov. 13.
Baltimore is ranked No. 28 in the NFL in rushing offense with 86 yards per game. But they've only attempted 301 rushes, which is fewer than all but three teams. If the Ravens want to run, the combination of Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon can be productive; both are averaging at least 4 yards per carry. Dixon has 16 catches in the last three games. The Eagles are receiving consistent production at linebacker from Jordan Hicks, and Mychal Kendricks could see more time on the field this week. The Ravens often use a fullback, which will put the Eagles in their base defense.
In field-goal range, Baltimore is especially dangerous. Kicker Justin Tucker has made 31 of 32 field goals - his only miss was a blocked kick last week - and has made nine field goals of 50-plus yards.
613: That's the number of passes Carson Wentz is on pace to throw this season. He has thrown 498 passes in 13 games. Wentz is on track to have the most attempts in franchise history, topping Donovan McNabb's 571 in 2008. It would also be the second most by any rookie in NFL history, trailing only Andrew Luck's 627 attempts in 2012. Perhaps Doug Pederson will limit Wentz's passes in the final three games while searching for more balance, but the coach has said that for weeks. The final stats usually reflect a pass-happy offense. Wentz has thrown the sixth-most passes in the NFL this season.
Zach Berman: Ravens 19, Eagles 13
Jeff McLane: Ravens 27, Eagles 16