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What To Watch For: Ravens vs. Eagles

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Presswire

When the Baltimore Ravens defense comes out onto the playing field to defend against the Philadelphia Eagles offense, they better not just focus on stopping QB Michael Vick. No question Vick can take the ball and drive defenses silly with his legs as well as his arm, but he is nowhere near the only weapon they have.

The Eagles receivers are only a factor of how well Vick does both in the pocket or while scrambling, so they can only succeed if he does. However, regardless of Vick's success, running back LeSean McCoy is an offensive threat all by himself.

McCoy scored a league-leading 17 rushing touchdowns among his 1300+ yards in 2011 and added three more receiving touchdowns on 48 receptions for 300+ yards. Even in the Eagles horrible performance in their barely squeaked-out 17-16 win over the Cleveland Browns, McCoy still managed 110 rushing yards and 26 receiving.

McCoy is to the Eagles what Ray Rice is to the Ravens. Running the ball or getting the ball out in space via the pass, LeSean is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. While he did not put up quite nearly the receiving numbers Rice did for the Ravens in 2011, he did find the end zone more often.

Expect the Ravens to try to mark him every time he moves on the field. He is way to fast for any of the team's linebackers, which means Baltimore should be playing with an extra defensive back most of the time to make sure they have an answer for his elusive abilities.

Stopping McCoy will put more pressure on Vick to carry his team on his arm, and then the Ravens can pin their ears back and focus on disrupting him enough to force him into a repeat performance from last weekend. If they can do this, they will get out of town with a well-deserved victory. If not, then LeSean McCoy can make it a miserable day for the Ravens defense.