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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Playoff preview: Ravens vs. Chiefs and Packers vs. Eagles.

Mike Vick outruns Clay Matthews in the Eagles and Packers Week 1 meeting.
After two fantastic games last night we are treated to another great doubleheader today when the Ravens travel to Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium this afternoon and the Packers will bring their hot streak into the City of Brotherly Love in the late game.

The Ravens are going to have to get their offense on track today against the Chiefs in what has been a very up and down season for Flacco and Company.  Ray Rice wasn't nearly the fantasy star this season that many people believed that he would be this season but he turned it on towards the end of the regular season.  The Ravens will be facing a very young Chiefs defense today with budding stars at nearly every position.  

The Chiefs offense is is led by Jamaal Charles who's 6.39 yards per rush of  was #1 in the league and only .01 yards behind the 47 year old NFL record held by Jim Brown.  The Chiefs also have the top WR in the league this year in breakout star Dwayne Bowe who led the NFL with 15 receiving Touchdowns.  Unfortunately for the Cheifs, they are playing against one of the toughest defenses in the league lead by 15 year NFL veteran and 12 time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis.  Other notables on the Ravens D include maybe the best Safety of all time, Ed Reed and one of the best Defensive Tackles in the game Haloti Ngata.

In the late game today it's all about Mike Vick.  More to the point, can the Eagles keep the pressure off of Vick so he has some time to throw?  The Packers will certainly bring the heat all day with their phenomenal pass rushing tandem of  Outside Linebacker Clay Matthews and Cornerback Charles Woodson.  If Green Bay is getting too much pressure on Vick, look for Eagles' Running Back Lesean McCoy to see a lot more touches than normal as the Packers defense has been vulnerable up the middle.

The Packers offense is led by Aaron Rodgers in what has become almost entirely a passing offense.  They lost their top Running Back Ryan Grant to a torn ACL in their Week 1 game against the Eagles and their replacements haven't exactly filled that gap.  Fortunately the Packers will be facing a very inexperienced Eagles defense who will feature first year starters at nearly every level (DT Antonio Dixon, LB, Jamar Chaney, CB Dmitri Patterson, and Safety Kurt Coleman).  Despite their youth this squad has been playing very well lately.  Although Jamar Chaney is a rookie picked in this year's 7th round, he has filled in for Middle Linebacker Stewart Bradley remarkably well.  Bradley is a game time decision today with a separated elbow suffered a few weeks ago.  The real match up to keep an eye on today will be Aaron Rogers against the Eagles banged up Secondary which consists of Pro Bowler Asante Samuel, rookie 7th rounder Kurt Coleman, and first year starter Dmitri Patterson.  The Eagles are going to have to get pressure on Rodgers if they hope to allow the Secondary any chance of staying with the Packers big and fast WRs Greg Jennings, James Jones, and Donald Driver.

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