Week 6 Matchup: Eagles vs Ravens
Just when I thought they had a chance to break a 20 game losing streak in Pittsburgh... Nate Gerry was covering Chase Claypool for some reason, and in normal Gerry fashion, he got burnt to a crisp. But the Eagles are now 1-3-1 and are coming home to face another dominant team in the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens and Eagles are in second place in their respective divisions, but the similarities end there. The all-time series between the two teams are 2-2-1, with the Ravens coming out on top in their last meetup 27-26 in 2016. In that game, the Ravens survived a last-minute com back when they stopped the Eagles on a two-point conversion attempt with four seconds left.
Coming off a lopsided 27-3 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens are trying to extend their two-game winning streak in an attempt to be in first place in the AFC North. In his 12th year as the head coach, John Harbaugh has led his Ravens to nine winning seasons and only one losing season. He has the second-most playoff wins by any NFL coach since 2008. After giving up 517 yards in their only loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Baltimore defense has looked more sharp and quick. They showed their dominance against Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense last week, holding the Bengals to 205 yards while forcing three turnovers. They allowed only three points and even scored a defensive touchdown. Rookie LB Patrick Quinn has played well this year and has made some great plays in the first five games of the season. With a pair of sacks, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries (one resulted in a TD), he looks to become a great addition to their defense for the foreseeable future.
In 2019, the Ravens ranked first in almost everything related to rushing the ball. This season, their rushing attempts are 28.8/game and rushing yards are 160.8/game. They are down a little bit compared to last year, but they are still averaging about 5.6 yards per carrying. The Pittsburgh Steelers had plenty of receivers to rely on last Sunday, and the Baltimore Ravens have plenty of running backs who can rush the ball with ease this coming Sunday.
They have weapons who have the ability to wear down defenses, and not to mention Lamar Jackson, who might as well be a part-time running back. Last season, Jackson added over 1,200 yards on the ground from his quarterback position (most by a QB in a season in NFL history). Another killer in their offensive powerhouse is their tight end, Mark Andrews. He has the ability to make plays down the field and already has five touchdowns this season after getting 10 of them last year.
The Eagles are facing another tough AFC team in the Baltimore Ravens and may find it more difficult to score against an all-around great team like the Ravens than they did against the Steelers. The offense has struggled in the first few weeks of the season and Carson Wentz had trouble finding his footing. But I was shocked at how well they were able to carry themselves last Sunday against such a superior team as the Steelers. If the defense hadn’t given up 38 points, they may have had a shot at giving Pittsburgh their first loss.
In 2019, the Eagles allowed 16 pass plays of 40 plus yards (no team allowed more). This year, they’ve been better with that by only allowing one, so they have to be careful because if the ball is thrown to Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, he’ll run circles around you before scoring a touchdown.
Travis Fulgham has become a local legend these past two weeks and has been giving fans a small chance of hope that the Eagles will come out leaders in the trash can known as the NFC East. Fulgham had the biggest play in their win against the 49ers in Week 4 and was responsible for keeping the game close against the Steelers with 10 catches, 152 yards, and a touchdown. It’ll be interesting to see if he can hold his own and prove he’s a long-term starter against more physical corners in Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Jimmy Smith.
The Eagles have had obvious troubles at the linebacker position. They have been the biggest weakness (among others) for the team in their five first games of the season. They are going to be at a severe disadvantage at linebacker against a powerful running team. The Birds' defense has to put pressure on Lamar Jackson if they want to stay in this game. His production has dipped a bit compared to his 2019 MVP season, but there's still plenty of games left for him to go off, and the Eagles definitely do not want to be that team that starts his turnaround. If they force him to throw the ball between the tackles instead of escaping the pocket, they may find success.
The Kansas City Chiefs prevented him from escaping the pocket in Baltimore's lone loss, so if the Eagles can figure out a similar plan they could win this ballgame. The fans are finally able to return to Lincoln Financial Field, so maybe that’ll give the Birds that extra boost they’ve needed, and hopefully, that’ll help them win against a well built Baltimore Ravens squad. Kickoff is at 1PM on Sunday.