Seattle C Chris Spencer, G Chris Gray and G Rob Sims,
all of whom have struggled this season to move people, vs. Baltimore NT Kelly Gregg, who teammates universally say should have made the Pro Bowl because of
his 100 tackles -- Gregg is one of the best run-stoppers
in the league, and the Seahawks' trio has regularly been beaten into the backfield
Seattle WR Bobby Engram, who went over 1,000 yards for the first time in his
career last week, vs. Baltimore CB Corey Ivy, who got the job after Chris McAlister
was injured -- Engram will be Hasselbeck's security blanket against
one of the most ferocious linebacker corps in the NFL.
Ravens RB Willis McGahee vs. Seahawks run defense --
McGahee is on one of his best runs as a Raven, cracking 100 yards in
three of his past five games. He is coming off a 104-yard rushing performance
against the Dolphins, the worst run defense in the NFL. And McGahee should get
20-plus carries again, especially if the Ravens have to start rookie QB Troy Smith. It'll be a tougher challenge this week against the Seahawks, who rank
13th in run defense. The Seahawks haven't given up a 100-yard rusher at home
this season. In fact, only two running backs (Edgerrin James and Willie Parker)
have gained over 100 yards against Seattle. In the past two games, Seattle hasn't
allowed a running back to surpass 61 yards rushing.
Ravens pass defense vs. Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck -- Hasselbeck could
have a big game against the Ravens, who struggled last game against Miami's
Cleo Lemon (315 yards passing and one touchdown). The biggest problem is that
the Ravens will be without both first-string cornerbacks (Chris McAlister is
on injured reserve and Samari Rolle is nursing a shoulder injury). In the four
games that they have played without McAlister and Rolle, the Ravens have given
up 10 passing touchdowns. In his past three home games, Hasselbeck has produced
eight touchdowns and one interception.
Ravens run defense vs. Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander -- Alexander
figures to struggle against the Ravens run defense, the one constant in a miserable
season for the Ravens. LB Ray Lewis won't be at full strength because of a dislocated
finger, but the Ravens are too powerful up front with Haloti Ngata and Kelly
Gregg. The Ravens haven't given up a 100-yard rusher in 17 straight games, the
longest streak in the NFL. The one stumble has been allowing rushing touchdowns.
The Ravens gave up only four rushing touchdowns in their first 11 games, but
they have now allowed four in their past three.