Eric Hartz: Willis McGahee is turning it on for the Ravens, with two 100-yard outings in his last three games, and seven straight games with a touchdown. He's on pace to finish with the best rushing total of his five-year career. What makes him such an effective back and well-suited to the Ravens' system?
Aaron Wilson: He's more physical than people thought he would be and he runs with excellent vision. He's is shifty, makes quick cuts with enough power to make people pay and has a deceptively vicious stiff-arm. They need to keep making him earn his $40 million and wear him out on a weekly basis like they did Monday night.
Hartz: There have been a lot of distractions for the Ravens this week with the aftermath of Monday's controversial loss to the Patriots on "Monday Night Football." What kind of emotional fallout will there be for the Ravens, and will they have trouble getting focused for this week?
Wilson: I expect them to play hard again, but be emotionally drained overall. At some point, all the angst could take its toll.
Hartz: Since being drafted by the Ravens in 2003, Kyle Boller has won and lost the starting quarterback job several times. With Steve McNair on the shelf, perhaps for good, Boller's in now, but is he the long-term answer for the team at quarterback? And how does Heisman Trophy winner and fifth-round draft pick Troy Smith factor into the situation?
Wilson: I don't think the true quarterback of the future is on this team yet. Kyle Boller is an erratic guy. Steve McNair is washed up. And Troy Smith showed very little promise during the preseason with no touchdowns and one interception. This team needs to start fresh. I do think that Boller can be a bridge player in 2008 to the next guy. If they try to come back with McNair after he heals up, it's a grave mistake.
Hartz: The Colts have won four straight games against the Ravens, but those games have been close, including last year's 15-6 playoff win by Indianapolis. The Ravens are one of the better teams in the league at slowing Peyton Manning down. What do you expect defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, linebacker Ray Lewis, and the rest of the Baltimore defense to have cooked up for Manning this week?
Wilson: I expect them to blitz Manning and stop the run for the most part. Joseph Addai's shiftiness could give them trouble, like Buffalo Bills rookie Marshawn Lynch did earlier this season. The Ravens used a lot of nickel packages against Tom Brady on Monday night and that was effective. They also blitzed cornerback Corey Ivy liberally and he recorded one sack.
Hartz: What's the latest on Todd Heap's injury? There are reports he may not play again this season. And what other injury issues are the Ravens facing?
Wilson: I won't be surprised if Todd Heap doesn't play again this year. The leg hasn't improved that much. Chris McAlister (strained knee) will be a game-time decision. He hasn't practiced all week. The Ravens miss Demetrius Williams (high-ankle sprain).
Hartz: The Ravens came a hair of an upset against the Patriots Monday. What do they need to do to pull one off this week?
Wilson: They need to force Peyton Manning into a similar game as the one he played against the San Diego Chargers. And they need to pound the Colts with their running game.