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Five Key Matchups to Watch for in Today’s Baltimore Ravens VS Minnesota Vikings Contest

December 8th, 2013 at 7:00 AM
By Josh Michael

It’s gameday Ravens Nation and that means it’s time for Ravens101’s five key matchups to watch for as the Baltimore Ravens host the Minnesota Vikings today at M&T Bank Stadium.

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There are always several key matchups to watch for in every single game, but we have dug through them all to give you the five most important.

Ravens Front Seven vs Adrian Peterson

Peterson is the best running back in all of football, and arguably one of the best to ever play the game thus it should have been obvious that he would show up in one of our key matchups. Peterson has an average of 3.1 yards after contact per carry, yes you read that right, he averages an additional 3.1 yards per carry after he is hit. To put that into perspective, the Ravens as a team average 2.9 yards per carry total! The Ravens front seven are going to have to make the tackle when they get the chance and limit his yards after contact in order to contain him and keep him from having a historic day on the ground. If Baltimore’s front seven can simply contain Peterson, not stop him, just contain him, it could be the biggest factor in the game.

Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce vs Vikings Front Seven

Now we flip it around, the Ravens will be going up against one of the worse rushing defenses in the league and are presented with a golden opportunity to get the running game going. We saw the Ravens take advantage of a bad run defense a few weeks ago against the Bears and will need to do so again today. If Baltimore can get Rice and or Pierce going on the ground, the play action passing game will be a valuable weapon for the Ravens offense.

Ravens O-Line vs Vikings Pass Rush

Baltimore’s pass protection has been up and down all season, but the addition of Eugene Monroe has paid some dividends as he has been great in pass blocking as of late. Minnesota overall has been among the bottom third of NFL teams in getting to opposing quarterbacks, but have been better of late, including their four sack performance last week. The Ravens offensive line will have to protect Joe Flacco and keep him upright for the offense to be successful today.

Ravens Pass Rush vs Play Action

The Ravens are among the league’s best pass rushing teams with a slew of guys that can get to the quarterback, but today presents an interesting task for Baltimore. Guys like Terrell Suggs, Courtney Upshaw and Elvis Dumervil like to pin their ears back and go after the quarterback, but their ability to identify the play action today is going to be huge. If the Ravens are able to recognize play action quickly enough, they will be able to get to Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel who is not very mobile and Minnesota’s offensive line is not very good.

Ravens vs “Lay-up Game”

There are not many experts around football that believe the Vikings are going to march into M&T Bank Stadium and beat a Ravens team that is playing pretty good football right now and coming off of back-to-back big wins, but if the team itself is falling into that belief they could be in trouble. It may not be a “must win” in regards to their playoff hopes, but when you look at their remaining three games after today, the schedule shows that beating the Vikings is a must.

It should be a fun game to watch as Baltimore gets a rare up-close look at the league’s best running back and hopefully we will all see a Ravens win and a return to being over .500 on the season.

These are our five key matchups to watch for today, what are yours? Let your voice be heard and the conversations ensue by posting a comment!


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Tags: Adrian Peterson, Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Bernard Pierce, Football, Joe Flacco, NFL, Ray Rice

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