Against Their Offense:
Football Outsiders has the Ravens ranked 27th in Offense DVOA, so if the Skins are ever going to iron out their issues on defense it better be this week.
Baltimore usually operates out of 11 (1RB, 1TE) personnel:
with an occasional deployment of beefier personnel on early downs:
I’d prefer not to see the latter given our struggles with the interior of our 3-4 defense. If Baltimore stays true to form and sticks to 11, then Kerrigan/Murphy and Smith should be able to wreak havoc out of our Nickel defense. Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley is listed as doubtful which means Preston Smith will be lined up against his replacement, rookie left guard Alex Lewis (72.) Yes please.
Our underneath zone coverage will be put to the test with Cravens out this weekend. Thankfully, large chunks of the Ravens’ passing game consists of Joe Flacco–30th in yards per attempt–staring blankly down field before dumping it off to his outlet receivers in the flats.
Baltimore’s run game is mainly inside zone. This does mean lots of interior double teams but it also means we shouldn’t see as much of the pesky pulling guards like we did against the Giants and Browns. Ricky-Jean Francois is pretty comfortable at dissolving zone blocks and can do that thing where he blasts into the backfield and disrupts the timing of the play.
Good News: Preston Smith, Murphy/Kerrigan and Francois should be adding to their TFL totals this week.
Bad News: Man beast Marshal Yanda and Center Jeremy Zuttah will probably find a favorable double team match up versus Ziggy Hood. It could lead to some demoralizing yards on the ground.
Against Their Defense:
On defense, the Ravens line up the same way we do: Nickel versus 11 personnel and 3-4 against heavier formations.
The middle of the line is the strength this defense. Timmy Jernigan (99) is the star up front, he and nose tackle Brandon Williams (98) are tough to move. Scherff, Long, and Kouj/Lauvao will have their hands full all game. Outside runs can help to slow down the Ravens interior and it just so happens outside zone is our bread and butter. We might be able to find some success inside when rookie backup nose tackle Michael Pierce (78) enters the game. His mobility is limited and he can be moved with one-on-one blocks–a junior Pot Roast.
On the back end, inside linebacker CJ Mosley (57) could be susceptible to play action, especially out of our heavier formations. Behind him, cornerback Shareece Wright (24) is struggling. He got burned against Cleveland and was beat multiple times last week versus Michael Crabtree. Paging Desean Jackson, we need you to toast this guy real quick. The only question mark is if Cousins will be willing and able to test the Ravens deep.
Good News: Any time Desean is lined up across Shareece Wright in Cover 3 or one-on-one, Cousins gets the Rex Grossman F**k It I’m Going DeepTM seal of approval.
Bad News: They are ranked 4th in Defense DVOA. Spencer Long might have a bad day.
Elsewhere: Odds Shark’s computer predicts the Ravens win 28-15.4, which ok I’m sure that’s useful to somebody. Ravens are favored by 4, over/under is set at 45.5. Hogs Haven interviews a Ravens’ blog.