By John Boyle Herald Writer
Seahawks QB Tarvaris Jackson vs. Ravens S Ed Reed
Even at 33, Reed remains one of the game’s best safeties and a player capable of making game-changing plays for an outstanding Baltimore defense. So far this season, Reed has two interceptions and a forced fumble, modest numbers by his standards, but he’s still a threat to turn any mistake by Jackson into a Ravens touchdown.
Jackson, meanwhile, is coming off a three-interception game in Dallas, his worst performance as a Seahawk. So, he knows he’ll have to clean up his play considerably to give the Seahawks a chance.
“I felt real bad after the Dallas game,” Jackson said. “I felt like it was my fault. If I had done a better job of taking care of the football …”
He didn’t finish that thought, but he didn’t need to, either. Jackson knows he needs to be better this week, and in particular, to stay away from Baltimore’s future Hall of Fame safety.
“He’s still a factor back there. He’s still making plays all over the field and making plays all the time,” Jackson said of Reed. “You just have to make sure of where he is at all times because you don’t want to be on his highlight reel. You want to make sure you keep him from making those plays. … We’re going to make sure we keep our eye on him the whole game.”
Of course, Reed is hardly the only person the Seahawks have to worry about on Baltimore’s defense. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis is one of the game’s all-time greats, and is joined by Terrell Suggs, another Pro Bowl linebacker. Haloti Ngata also is one of the game’s best defensive tackles. Baltimore ranks second in total defense this season, and second in points allowed.
13 — Sacks registered by the Seahawks this season, tied for the third lowest total in the NFL. Other than DE Chris Clemons, who has five, no Seahawk has multiple sacks this season.
BREAK IT DOWN
Seahawks will win if they
… Build on the offensive line’s progress. Marshawn Lynch had his best day as a Seahawk last weekend, and the Cowboys recorded only one sack. It won’t be easy, but if the line can play like that against Baltimore, Seattle has a real shot.
… Win the turnover battle. Not surprisingly, Seattle’s two wins this season are in games they had a positive turnover ratio, while in losses they are minus-eight in tHat department.
… Fix their run defense. Seattle was the best defense in the league through seven games in terms of run-per-carry average, but last weekend Dallas rushed for 163 yards and average 7.4 yards per carry. With Ray Rice coming to town, Seattle has to get its run D right in a hurry.
Ravens will win if they
… Avoid another letdown. Baltimore’s two losses this season came on the road after big wins, and they’re playing in Seattle right after a comeback victory in Pittsburgh.
… Stop Marshawn Lynch. The Ravens have one of the game’s best run defenses, so they should be able to limit the Seahawks in this department, making the offense one-dimensional. That being said, Seattle showed progress last week, and Lynch has the physical game to go blow-for-blow with the Ravens nasty defense.
… Get Torrey Smith involved. The speedy rookie receiver is the type of player who could give Seattle’s big corners some trouble — anyone remember Pittsburgh’s Mike Wallace torching Brandon Browner in Week 2? Browner and rookie Richard Sherman have shown they can hang with big, physical receivers, but a burner like Smith could spell trouble if he gets in the open field.
Seahawks — QB Tarvaris Jackson continues to deal with a pectoral strain, but is listed as probable and is expected to start. WR Sidney Rice (foot), who sat out practice early in the week, is fine and will play, Pete Carroll said. TE Cameron Morrah is questionable with toe and knee injuries, while backup LB David Vobora has been ruled out with a concussion.
Ravens — S Ed Reed (shoulder) and LB Terrell Suggs (knee) are both probable and practiced fully Friday after taking Thursday off. C Matt Birk also is expected to play after being limited early in the week with a neck injury. Starting WR Lee Evans is doubtful with an ankle injury, as is backup LB Dannell Ellerbe.
The two teams have played just twice, with Baltimore holding a 2-1 advantage. The Seahawks won the only meeting between the two teams in Seattle, a 27-6 victory in 2007.
Ravens 23, Seahawks 13
The Ravens are too good to have yet another letdown, and while the Seahawks defense should keep it close for a while, the offense won’t be able to do enough to hang with Baltimore for four quarters.