Week 2 of the 2012 NFL Season provides intriguing games all over the league. One of those intriguing games pits the Baltimore Ravens (1-0) and the Philadelphia Eagles (1-0).
Baltimore looked sharp against the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia looked sloppy against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1. Nevertheless, both achieved victory, and in a league driven by win/loss records, surviving and advancing is all that matters.
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for Sunday's showdown:
When: Sunday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: Philadelphia -2.5 (via Vegas Insider)
Over/Under: 46.5 (via Vegas Insider)
Injury Report (via CBS Sports)
Ravens: Paul Kruger (questionable, back), Pernell McPhee (questionable, knee), Ed Reed (questionable, thigh)
Eagles: Colt Anderson (probable, knee), Jason Avant (probable, wrist), Kurt Coleman (probable, facial lacerations), Riley Cooper (questionable, collarbone), DeSean Jackson (questionable, hamstring), Jeremy Maclin (questionable, hip) and Curtis Marsh (questionable, hamstring)
Players to Watch from Ravens
Flacco and the new and improved Ravens' offense torched the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night for 430 yards, 299 coming from Flacco through the air.
But what fans across the nation, media personalities and others tend to do is overreact after Week 1. One team is not Super Bowl favorites after one week just as one team isn't a flop.
Last year, Baltimore put on an even more impressive showing against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 35-7 route. He threw for 224 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against what would be the best defense in the league.
But what happened the following week? Flacco and the Ravens traveled to Tennessee, a team that would end up missing the 2012 Playoffs, and they ended up losing 26-13 while Flacco went 15-of-32 for 197 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
His quarterback rating was 51.2.
Before we crown the Ravens champions of the AFC North, and possibly champions of the AFC, let's relax and see what Flacco and company does over the next few weeks.
If Flacco and the Ravens' offense can replicate what they did on Monday, then I will begin to lean in the direction that they are as good as advertised.
I'm not there yet.
When the Ravens fall in love with Flacco's ability to throw the football that is when they are in danger of dropping a game.
Why? Because the Ravens forget to give the ball to its workhorse, Ray Rice. Last year, in a similar situation, the Ravens gave the ball to Rice 19 times against the Steelers for 107 yards and a touchdown.
They followed that week up by giving him the ball 13 times. Baltimore lost that game and that became a trend. All four losses that the Ravens garnered one season ago came when Rice received 13 carries or less.
Baltimore fell in love with the passing game a little too much and it cost them.
They can't get away from giving its best offensive player the ball at least 15 to 20 times per game. Rice recorded 1,364 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing last year.
Feed him the rock, especially against an Eagles' defense that allowed 112.6 yards per game on the ground one season ago.
Keep an eye on how many carries Rice receives.
Players to Watch from Eagles
This may seem obvious, but we have to mention it. Michael Vick is a player you must watch in this game. Not only does he hold the key to victory for the Eagles, but he also holds the key to a Ravens victory, too.
Vick tossed four interceptions last week against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns' defense is continuously improving, but they aren't on the same level as the Ravens.
Balancing the attack would benefit Vick and the Eagles' offense greatly despite playing against a stingy run defense. Vick threw the ball 56 times while only handing off 23 times to his running backs.
A little more balance will keep the Ravens' defense honest.
If the Eagles win Sunday's game, Vick will have to be on top of his game. By on top of his game, I mean nothing close to what he was Sunday.
DeSean Jackson needs to step up his game immediately. The speedy wide receiver has only caught two touchdowns in his past 11 games; four touchdowns all of last year. He caught four passes for 77 yards against the Browns in Week 1.
Vick throws one of the prettiest deep passes in the game and Jackson stretches the field unlike few in football. The two need to hook up on at least one long ball, but just attempting to stretch the field deep will open up the underneath routes that Vick must be able to complete.
With Ed Reed potentially gliding around in deep coverage, Vick better take his chance when Reed isn't around the play.
Baltimore is a better football team than the Eagles, but this is one of those "don't get ahead of yourself" games just like last year in Tennessee.
Philadelphia is better than what they showed against the Cleveland Browns and I think playing in front of the home crowd will push them to a 2-0 start to the season.
Eagles 17, Ravens 14.