|Eagles at Ravens Point Spread Odds, Trends, Injuries & Matchup|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 19 November 2008 10:14|
Baltimore, MD - If the Philadelphia Eagles weren't aware a week ago that an NFL game could end in a tie, it's safe to say they are now.
That lesson could also serve as a refresher to the franchise's brief history at M&T Bank Stadium.
Coming off the league's first tie in six years, the Eagles will look to begin climbing out of the NFC East cellar on Sunday at Baltimore, where their only previous game against the Ravens also ended in a draw.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made the Ravens -1 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on the Ravens -1 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
Philadelphia (5-4-1) came into last weekend tied with Dallas for last place in perhaps the NFL's toughest division, but with a game at woeful Cincinnati, it seemed the Eagles could begin to work their way back into playoff contention.
But following 75 minutes of game action, they found themselves headed for sole possession of last place in the East after playing to a 13-13 tie with the Bengals, the fourth in franchise history and first in the NFL since Nov. 10, 2002.
"I've never been in a tie, so I don't know how this works in the standings," coach Andy Reid said. "I know it's not good enough. We need wins, and this is not a win."
Most of Reid's players hadn't been involved in a tie, either. Some, including 10-year veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb, admitted afterward they didn't even know an NFL game could end that way, unleashing a rash of criticism toward the team's highest-profile player.
"I guess we're aware of it now," said McNabb, who lost a fumble and threw three interceptions. "In college, there are multiple overtimes, and in high school and Pop Warner. I never knew in the professional ranks it would end that way."
Reid and McNabb arrived together in Philadelphia in 1999, two years after the franchise's lone road game against the Ravens (6-4) ended in a 10-10 tie.
The year before Reid and McNabb came to Philadelphia, current Ravens coach John Harbaugh was hired as the Eagles special teams coach. Harbaugh led that unit until 2007, when he was promoted to secondary coach, lasting one season before being hired by Baltimore.
"I've got a lot of great relationships there," Harbaugh said. "You're going against your brothers. ... But when the game starts, it's going to be our players playing against their players, and whoever plays the best is going to win."
One of Harbaugh's former colleagues is Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who leads one of the most blitz-happy units in the NFL. No team has gotten to the quarterback more often than Philadelphia this season. The Eagles have 36 sacks, one fewer than they had in 2007, and got to Cincinnati's Ryan Fitzpatrick eight times last Sunday.
Johnson's unit will face another young quarterback this week, and after four straight standout performances, rookie Joe Flacco is coming off a tough outing. The Ravens had won four in a row without Flacco throwing an interception, but he tossed two last Sunday in New York as the Ravens lost 30-10 to the NFC-leading Giants.
Considering Flacco had thrown six touchdowns and compiled a 107.5 passer rating during the previous four games, Harbaugh didn't seem too concerned over a rough day against one of the league's top-rated defenses.
"He'll build from the good plays and the plays that weren't so good," Harbaugh said. "We think he's going to be a heck of a player, we're proud of him. I'm excited to see where he's going to go next week."
The Ravens, returning home after playing three in a row on the road, don't have nearly the amount of sacks (20) that the Eagles do, but they still boast one of the league's best defenses. Baltimore is among the NFL's top three teams in rushing defense (79.6 yards per game), total defense (267.9) and interceptions (15), but is coming off a rare poor performance.
The Ravens let the Giants run for 207 yards, the most allowed on the ground by Baltimore in more than 11 years.
"When you do that against our defense, you have some confidence," defensive tackle Trevor Pryce said. "It wasn't so much that they were ultra-special, but it was more that we were ultra-bad."
New York is the top rushing team in the NFL, but the Ravens shouldn't face nearly as much of a challenge against Philadelphia. Only three teams have fewer carries than the Eagles this season, and they're 26th in the league in rushing yards per game (95.3).
They ran the ball just 18 times in Cincinnati, tied for their fewest attempts this season. With no rushing attack, McNabb threw a career-high 58 passes and turned the ball over four times.
"Could we have dialed more (runs) up? Absolutely," Reid said. "We have to start off faster both in the pass and the run game. No matter what phase of the ball you are picking there, you can criticize."
The Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 29 straight games, the longest streak in the league. Eagles running back Brian Westbrook has one 100-yard game this season.
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Posted: 11/19/08 3:16 PM ET