Can Baltimore Ravens Handle Philadelphia Eagles' Pass Rush?
On one hand, quarterback Joe Flacco usually had plenty of time to throw. On the other hand, the line surrendered three sacks, including two to Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
This week, the Ravens will be facing a much tougher task in blocking the Eagles' ferocious pass rush. Trent Cole and Jason Babin lead one of the deepest and most talented defensive lines in the NFL, guaranteeing that the Ravens will have their hands full.
The key will be handling the Eagles' edge rushers. Cole and Babin form the best edge-rushing tandem in the NFL, and the Ravens' tackles are still question marks.
Kelechi Osemele had a solid debut against the Bengals, but he struggled against the Rams' Chris Long in the preseason. Osemele needs to handle the Eagles' defensive ends better than he handled Long for Flacco to stay upright.
On the other side, Michael Oher has had an up and down career as a tackle, but most analysts agreed before the season that he has found a home on the right side. The Ravens then promptly moved him back to the left side. How he will perform against top pass-rushers remains to be seen.
The Eagles will certainly be trying to exploit this weakness. They will line up their defensive ends in a wide nine technique, meaning they'll be well outside the Ravens tackles' outside shoulder. Oher and Osemele could struggle with this alignment that helps to emphasize the Eagles' speed and explosion.
How the Ravens' tackles handle the edge-rush will be the main factor behind whether or not the Ravens can repeat their offensive performance from Monday night.
The Ravens' have historically struggled in the second week of the season, and if that happens again, the offensive line will likely be the reason.
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