Inside slant for Ravens vs. Seahawks

Key matchups and what to watch for when each team has the ball.

When the Ravens have the football:
Expect the coaching staff to do everything possible to establish NFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis to take the pressure off interim quarterback Anthony Wright. It's imperative that Wright make high-percentage throws and avoid turnovers. The Ravens need to find a cure for their plague of penalties to avoid a third consecutive loss.

Key matchup:
C Mike Flynn vs. LB Randall Godfrey

Flynn has excelled at getting to the second level and walling off linebackers. Godfrey is banged-up, but is known as an experienced, explosive striker.

When the Seahawks have the football:

Watch an illustration of the West Coast offensive principles popularized by San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh. Seattle coach Mike Holmgren is one of his most successful disciples, along with Ravens coach Brian Billick. Seattle has a versatile offense built around running back Shaun Alexander and other capable skill players in quarterback Matt Hasselbeck along with receivers Darrell Jackson, Koren Robinson and Bobby Engram.

Key matchup:
LB Ray Lewis vs. RB Shaun Alexander

Lewis thrives on these high-profile encounters. Alexander is a shifty runner who belongs among the stable of elite running backs Baltimore has already faced.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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