Seahawks/Ravens: Five Things to Watch


Posted Dec 23, 2007


Here are five things to watch when the Ravens and Seahawks suit up this afternoon.

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 this season.

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.



Related Stories
Billick, Ryan Discuss Sunday's Game
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Dec 22, 2007
Kerney Goes for Sack Title
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Dec 26, 2007
Six Seahawks Make the Pro Bowl
 -by NorthwestFootball.net  Dec 18, 2007

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION INCLUDES
> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from NorthwestFootball.net. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
WR Bobby Engram (profile)
QB Matt Hasselbeck (profile)
OG Rob Sims (profile)
[View My HotList]