TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Green Bay Packers At Baltimore Ravens

Green Bay Packers
Baltimore Ravens
GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 09: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers truns to hand-off against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field on August 9, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 17-0.
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 22: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass during warmups prior to the start of a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium on August 22, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.
(credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner Aaron Rodgers should be turned on to face last year’s Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco in what could turn into a great shootout before the game is over. Rodgers’ accuracy is his best asset, followed closely by his ability to make plays on the run after the defense has broken down. He also does a superb job of diagnosing soft spots in the opposing defense.
Joe Flacco will force the ball into coverage because he has so much confidence in his arm. While that will work on occasion, he will lose that battle as he did in Week Four vs. the Bills. John Harbaugh would like Flacco to attack the game like a heavyweight boxer. Short pass, short pass, short pass followed by the big play.
Offense
Winner The Packers once again have one of the most consistent offenses in the league. Fullback John Kuhn is a powerful blocker who helps the running game and is Rodgers’ security blanket. Jordy Nelson is a possession receiver who can make big plays. Randall Cobb is a deep threat who can also go over the middle. Tight end Jermichael Finley needs to be more consistent.
The Ravens used to be a team that could depend on its running game, but Ray Rice has not displayed any of the breakaway ability that used to be his signature. Torrey Smith gives the Ravens a solid downfield threat who will catch the deep ball. Tight end Dallas Clark is a comfortable third-down target for Flacco.
Defense
The Packers have made a commitment to playing more physical football after getting pushed around in the postseason by the Niners. It’s a great idea, but it’s not working as Green Bay is giving up far too much yardage. The front seven tends to get pushed backwards and injured linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb) is not getting enough support. Inside linebacker A.J. Hawk is a solid tackler.
Winner They depend on inside linebacker Daryl Smith to give them focus and consistent tackling. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is still an effective pass rusher, but he is an all-or-nothing type who makes a lot of mistakes. Strong safety James Ihedigbo is a big hitter who should only get better because of his range and instincts.
Special Teams
The Packers have done a fine job covering punts this year, but have had more trouble covering kickoffs. They would like to get a lift from Randall Cobb on kickoffs, who has not had an impact yet. Placekicker Mason Crosby is performing better than he did last year and Tim Masthay is a solid directional punter.
Winner The Ravens are a solid coverage team and they get a lift from Tandon Doss, who has already brought one punt back for a touchdown. Placekicker Justin Tucker has just been ordinary this season and could get nervous when the game is on the line. Sam Koch is a very effective directional kicker.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 09: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers truns to hand-off against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field on August 9, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Cardinals defeated the Packers 17-0. BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 22: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass during warmups prior to the start of a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium on August 22, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Ravens should be primed for this game as they return home after two consecutive weeks on the road. They can’t afford to be at anything less than their best against the explosive Packers, who are not always as explosive when they go on the road.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

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