The Ravens will face the 5-8 Philadelphia Eagles at home in Week 15. Losers of four straight, the Eagles have faded from contention during the second half of the season. After being defeated by the Redskins, Giants and Cowboys, the Ravens are hoping to avoid a season sweep against the NFC East division.
Baltimore is currently listed as a 5.5-point favorite, the point total is hovering around 40. The game time forecast calls for a much warmer temperature than we are experiencing mid-week, with highs in 60s. But the 100% chance of rain and 15-plus mile per hour wind may lead to run centric game plans for both teams.
QB Carson Wentz vs S Eric Weddle
Wentz has proven to be a quick study in his first season out of North Dakota State. He turned in a solid performance against Washington in Week 14, but is prone to making mistakes when under duress. However, the Ravens mediocre pass rush may have issues generating consistent pressure against LT Jason Peters and their decent offensive line.
Eric Weddle leads the Ravens with four interceptions on the season, including a crucial pick in the end zone last week. If top corner Jimmy Smith is unable to play because of an ankle injury, the Eagles will have some chances to make plays downfield. Weddle must rely on his experience and savvy to maintain proper positioning and hopefully trick Wentz into a turnover.
RB Kenneth Dixon vs SLB Nigel Bradham
Dixon was heavily featured in Week 14, he responded by posting 81 all-purpose yards and a receiving touchdown. His 19-touches more than tripled up fellow RB Terrance West against New England. Dixon brings a potent blend of elusiveness and strength. Since the rookie did not see significant snaps until after the Week 8 bye, he should be relatively fresh for the final three weeks of the regular season.
Bradham, an offseason signing from Buffalo, leads the Eagles with 81 tackles this season. He, along with MLB Jordan Hicks, are playing well lately and have been instrumental to Philadelphia’s 15th ranked run defense. Dixon’s effectiveness will play a large part in deciding the time-of-possession battle.
TE Zach Ertz vs ILB C.J. Mosley
After a slow start to the year, Ertz has become Wentz’s go-to target. The playmaking tight end has caught 19 passes for 191-yards and a score over the last two weeks. With wideout Jordan Matthews nursing an ankle injury and scat back Darren Sproles in the concussion protocol, Ertz presents the Eagles best opportunity to move the ball in the passing game.
Mosley has been trending in the opposite direction. After supplying excellent coverage to begin the season, including three interceptions over the first five games of 2016, Mosley has not made much of an impact and had some issues in coverage since being slowed by a midseason hamstring ailment. On Monday, Martellus Bennett beat Mosley for a big 27-yard reception. If C.J. can slow Ertz, the Ravens are highly capable of shutting down the Eagles offense.
G Marshal Yanda vs DT Fletcher Cox
Two of the very best in the league at their respective positions will square off on some important downs. Yanda has been more than stout since sliding to left guard following a shoulder injury in Week 11. The Ravens may opt to double team Cox with center Jeremy Zuttah and right guard Vlad Ducasse when the opportunity presents itself, but Yanda will likely be asked to block Cox one-on-one.
Cox signed a massive contract in the offseason, and has not been quite as productive this year. But he has gotten back to his disruptive ways in recent weeks. In the Eagles last game, he provided two sacks and three quarterback hurries to reclaim the team lead in sacks from underrated defensive end Brandon Graham.