Last Sunday against the Steelers, 220-pound safety JoJuan Armour was inserted inside of the box to help slow down Jerome Bettis, but the move proved to be futile as the Steelers were still able to rush for well over 100 yards, controlling the clock and the game.
Against the Ravens, expect Armour to be used to stymie the run once more. The Bengals will clutter the inside with eight defenders much like the Titans did last Sunday, forcing
Armour is the key to
The Ravens can either spread the field using a three wide set, or they can use a four wide set with Lewis as the single set back in both formations. When the Ravens run the ball or pass the ball out of the spread formation is crucial, as the right mix of calls will keep the Bengals' secondary guessing.
2. Protection: One of the main reasons why Jeff Blake was able to have an efficient game against Cincinnati two weeks ago had to do with his ability to stay in the pocket and throw down the field while skimming through his progressions the entire time. Clearly, Blake was well protected.
Yes, the Bengals sacked Blake a handful of times, but for the most part, the blitzers were kept at bay.
3. Grab the early lead and keep attacking: While they are a 1-10 team, the Bengals can't be accused of quitting, at least not since Jon Kitna has taken over the reigns as
They've been down against
That's why it is imperative for the Ravens' offense to grab an early lead, and keep attacking from there on out.
The offense must be efficient in third down conversions, establishing a solid average on first down and in controlling the time of possession battle if they are to thoroughly dominate
Defense Three Defensive Keys to Victory:
1. Be aware of Kitna: Since Kitna has taken over the Bengals' offense, they have picked up the pace on offense, averaging around 23 points per game.
The Ravens' secondary will be picked apart some, it's simply an inevitability when you consider who dangerous the Bengals' passing attack has suddenly become.
The key for the young Ravens is to bait Kitna into making some bad decisions, much like they did two weeks ago, and to hold off the Bengals from scoring inside of the red zone.
2. Break on the ball: It hasn't been the deep passes that have killed the Ravens' secondary, but the curls, the post patterns and the comeback routes that have ripped through the corners.
The problem has been the defensive backs' ability to break on the ball with sound acceleration, which is something that corners Gary Baxter and James Trapp did so well the first few weeks of the season.
Because they haven't been able to make a play on the ball, the Ravens have allowed a higher percentage of third downs to be completed and have also allowed offenses to establish a solid average per pass attempt.
With or without McAlister in the lineup, the defensive backs must been quicker in their recovery time and shadow the receivers once they come out of their breaks.
3. Misdirection: The last time the Ravens faced Corey Dillon, they knew they had to contain him, but they could not.
Dillon rushed for over 100 yards, controlled the line of scrimmage and broke through many tackles to gain a decent amount of YAC.
Because the game plan worked the first time, don't expect the Bengals' offensive coaches to deviate too much from the same attack they established the last time.
If anything, they will surely add misdirection runs into their bag of tricks, after watching how
The Ravens' fast flow front seven must stay in their lanes, and not overreact to whatever run-action fakes they see. Giving Dillon any more room than he already needs to rip off a long gain would be perilous.
Two battles you have to watch:
Willie Anderson versus Peter Boulware: Another week and yet another game has gone by without Boulware registering a sack. He's now gone sackless for four straight games. It's still a matter of when Boulware breaks out rather than if, but at the same time, it's evident that the double teams have taken their toll on the outside backer. His task to break his slump doesn't get easier against Willie Anderson, who is a road-grader in run blocking situations and is adept at sealing off the edge rush in pass blocking situations.
Justin Smith versus Ethan Brooks: The Bengals didn't even bother lining their best pass rusher, Justin Smith, over Jonathan Ogden too many times in their last matchup. Smith beat right tackle Ethan Brooks a number of times instead. Brooks had a tough time stopping Smith because the strong edge rusher used a wide array of bull rushes to simply overpower him at the point of attack. Smith will likely use his same dose of power moves against Brooks, but this time, he will use those moves to setup his outside rush. Look for the Ravens to use a tight end, probably Terry Jones, to help chip block Smith.