Week two of the NFL season often results in overreactions being washed away and order being restored. We saw it Thursday night with the Green Bay Packers comprehensive win over the much hyped Chicago Bears.
Whether or not the same will be said for Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles will be determined by Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and a fierce Baltimore Ravens defense.
Will the Eagles finally deliver on the pre-season hype? Or will the Ravens announce themselves as genuine Superbowl contenders? Join us for kick off at 3am Monday morning AEST as we bring you play-by-play updates of all the action.
Both Philadelphia and Baltimore are coming off week one wins although the Eagles were anything but convincing in their road victory against the Cleveland Browns. After four interceptions, a pair of sacks, twenty-seven incomplete passes and numerous “I don’t know what I’m doing” play calls from head coach Andy Reid, Michael Vick was finally able to show some semblance of a competent quarterback and lead the Eagles on a 91-yard game winning drive with only a minute remaining to steal victory. That might sound heroic but I’d recommend salvaging your eyes and general sanity by avoiding any replays of the game which had as many sacks, incompletions, penalties and interceptions as points scored.
If it weren’t for rookie Quarterback Brandon Weeden joining in on the all-ugly buffet by completing just 34% of his pass attempts to go with four interceptions the Eagles season could already be on the ropes.
Running back LeSean McCoy was again the overwhelming bright spot for Philadelphia. The consistent McCoy would run for 110 yards from his 20 rushing attempts against a gritty Browns defense.
For the Baltimore Ravens their opening day to the season couldn’t have played out any differently. The Ravens ran into little resistance on their way to a 44-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore’s no huddle offense continually kept the Bengals defense on edge and although a year older the veteran defense looked as damaging as ever. Quarterback Joe Flacco did as he pleased finishing 21-for-29 on pass attempts for 299 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Ravens running back Ray Rice topped 97 all-purpose yards and managed to produce two touchdowns of his own before sitting out the majority of the fourth quarter.
The key to Baltimore’s victory was their vicious defense. Veteran crew Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata led the way for a Ravens defense which combined for 70 tackles, 4 sacks and a breakaway touchdown.
This particular match up will be dictated by how effective Michael Vick can be against the Ravens defense. The Eagles had the league’s eighth ranked home offense last season with Baltimore registering the fourth best road defense. Although Baltimore are an entirely new machine on offense in 2012 the components are largely the same. It’s all about stopping Ray Rice.
Both the Ravens offense away from home and the Eagles defense in their own arena ranked outside the top ten in 2011. If Baltimore’s defense fires like it did in week one the Ravens will come away with the victory. If the Eagles can do the complete opposite to what they did against the Browns and make things easy for Vick with more focus on the ground game they should be able to do enough to register the win.
It’s interesting to note that Vick has only faced the Ravens defense twice in his career and not since 2006. Both Ray Rice and Joe Flacco haven’t seen an Eagles defense since their rookie year back in 2008.
Both teams will be aiming for Playoff spots this season. Last year the Ravens proved they are capable. Tonight it is Philadelphia’s turn to show us they belong. Adjustments must be made but the Eagles have the skill set, speed and personnel to get the job done.
We’re in for one heck of a game.
Tip: Eagles 24, Ravens 21