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Under Analysis: Ravens' Offensive Line

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Many fans of the Baltimore Ravens will look at the team's offensive line as its weakest link. Before this season, most of those same fans thought the o-line was going to be a strong point and continue to open huge holes for the running attack's "three-headed monster." However, that "monster" has virtually disappeared, replaced by the "Ray Rice Monster," as both Willis McGahee and LeRon McClain have become an afterthought in the Ravens rushing attack compared to previous seasons. The pass protection has broken down enough to have QB Joe Flacco either running fro his life at times or folding like a lawn chair for the sack to protect the ball.

Not everyone thinks that way, and there is even a recent statistical analysis that says otherwise, at least in terms of pass protection. Reed Albergotti wrote a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal (click to read) that only puts the Ravens behind the New England Patriots in ranking the offensive lines in the NFL. Reed specifically ranks center Matt Birk as the best at his position and says the weakest link by far is right tackle Marshal Yanda. I recommend to click on the 'Interactive Graphics' tab and then the Ravens helmet to read further details on both the offense and defense, as well as a quote from a rival on "How to Beat" the Ravens.

Regardless of this statistical analysis, let's hope they earn that ranking tomorrow afternoon and protect Joe long enough to find his open receivers as the Ravens defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers and move onto the AFC Championship Game the following Sunday!