Usually I will do five key match ups for the offense and the defense but since this is a short week I'm just going to do one. Enjoy!
Boy, if this were a street fight I wouldn't wanna be in the area. Leach is the best blocking fullback in the NFL. Willis is the heir to the throne as best middle linebacker in the NFL. If the Ravens offensive line can manage to open holes for our backs then it will be up to Leach to take on Willis and company in order to spring Ray Rice free. This is a task that not to many teams have accomplished this season as San Fransisco is number one against the run. Advantage: Willis
Ngata and Cody have been paired together to create an impenetrable wall on the Ravens defensive line. They have done their job well thus far. Ngata is a bit dinged up at the moment but he is still better than about 80% of the defensive tackles in the league. Cody has had a quiet but highly productive season and he is a hard man to move. Gore has run for 870 yards on 189 carries this season for an average of 6.1 per carry. This will have to change this week if the Ravens want to win this game. Look for Gore to get about 25 touches as it will likely be a close game. Advantage: Ngata and Cody
Williams got beat a few times against the Bengals but he was in on every play, sometimes even batting the ball in the air. Cary has played above and beyond all expectations this season and he has played against many top tier receivers. I think he can hold the sure handed Crabtree in check. Crabtree has 38 receptions for 455 yards and one touchdown this season. Last week was one of his better games as he and quarterback Alex Smith seem to be creating some chemistry. If Williams can shut him down it will force Smith to have to beat us with is second and third options. Advantage: Williams
4.) Ravens safeties vs. Vernon Davis
Vernon Davis is a match up nightmare and I am not sure who the Ravens will use on him when they need to go man. I would think it would be some combination of Bernard Pollard and linebackers but Jimmy Smith may be their best option. That is, if the 49ers do not already have a three wide receiver set on the field. Advantage: Davis
Torrey Smith is burning everyone. He has a quarterback that can get the ball deep and speed to spare. Smith could be the big difference maker in a game that is expected to be a ground and pound defensive battle. Goldson, the free safety for the 49ers, will have to keep an eye on Smith on every snap because if Torrey has one on one coverage Joe Flacco will throw him the ball. Hopefully this will create more space in the intermediate passing game for Anquan Boldin and Ed Dickson. Advantage: Smith