Some thoughts on the X's and O's of what we can expect on Sunday vs. the Ravens. I went back to look at the '10 game that we won in OT, because at this point, going back to look at the '09 game is pointless because of how much the roster and the attitude has changed, so I think the '10 game is better in terms of scouting. A few things: Reed did not play in the '10 game, also this was the first game after Moss was cut, and also the first game that Branch played in. This was also the Raven's first experience with Woodhead and they had a real hard time with his shirking, elusive style of play. Now this is the part where a lot of you will get excited- this was only AH's and Gronk's 5th professional game. AH had the jitters, especially in OT where he had two drops. We know how much those two have blossomed since, especially Gronk, who has exploded. His output across the board has literally doubled this year from last year. He is much more sophisticated now, and hopefully has learned to stop blocking players who take themselves out of the play, and this is all the more important because we will see plenty of this from the aggressive, sometimes overpursuing Ravens D, and Gronk has to stop wasting time with that because not only does it also take him out of the play, but it takes him away from picking up further blocks. In this game, we started off with a lot of single high safety looks out of the 3-4 (Meriweather) and in the 2nd half went to a cover 2, because we couldn't trust Meriweather who was making boneheaded play after play- he helped to give the Ravens four first downs on penalties, including that personal foul on Heap which was absolutely unnecessary and idiotic. I think that based on the success we had with Rice in '10 (holding him to 3.1 YPC) we will go back to the 3-4 again and roll Chung up to the line or possibly invert Ihedigbo, but I think we'll just focus on sound gap discipline over putting too much spy on Rice (although Spikes was outstanding on that) especially on the backside where Rice likes to cut if the run-blocking collapses. Not only do the players have to maintain excellent gap discipline, they must be extremely disciplined fundamentally-speaking, defeating blocks and otherwise because the Ravens protect their point of attacks very well- their run-blocking and blocking in general is exceptional and well above-average. If the point of attack is not contained and defeated, the blocking will quickly turn overwhelming because the Ravens are very physical. I don't rule out spying on Rice, however, especially late in the game, when they put Fletcher in spy on Rice on their last drive in regulation which effectively killed the drive. A big area of concern for us are the corners who must have an outstanding game, not just because Flacco loves those sideline throws, but in the '10 game, the Ravens picked on McCourty and Arrington often, testing their ability in single coverage (because of our high safety look). And it is plausible that this is where the cracks in McCourty's armors started to show. Expect this to happen again even if we are in a cover 2 look. On offense, in '10 we ran a lot of empty formations, and I think we will see the same here, except this time the empty will be in the spread with flood options, and we'll be in no-huddle because the Ravens pretty much have not seen it this year. Expect to see a lot of hurry-up with little run plays because the run plays require compressed formations and that is what the Ravens D love- they want BOB (big on big), they don't like running sideline to sideline or defending the open field. Closed or compressed formations play to their strengths, and I think we'll stay away from that. Expect to see a few of Woodhead/AH in the hybrid HB/RB offset I (same as last week). I guarantee that there will be at least one double-reverse handoff play. We ran two of that in the '10 game, one with AH and one with Tate and they went for big gains- this is another way of exploiting Ravens tendency to overpursue. If the OL wins, Brady wins, and we win the game, pure plain and simple. But there are two big areas of concern on the line- in the '10 game, Koppen got taken to the woodshed by Ngata, resulting in that forced fumble on the opening drive and a crucial sack late in the game off a loop, IIRC. We have Connolly in his place now, and while Connolly is bigger, heavier, and more athletic, he will still have problems with Ngata, because there just is nobody like Ngata who is a monster at nose. Also the Ravens like to attack Light and go at him laterally- you will see Suggs speed rush him from 8 or 9 tech, never on the inside, because Light has a hard time riding speed rushers past Brady. They love to go at him and pick on him. In this game, we have Welker at 100%, two great TE's in AH and Gronk, and the dependable Branch, and a X-factor receiver (doubt it will be Ocho). I expect our run game to be token (we will see little of BJGE who didn't fare well in '10 anyway, and no idea if we will see Ridley). Like Jay says, I won't be surprised to see us test Reed right off the bat, to go right at him with a mismatch to see where he is physically, and see how much he can cover open space and adjust accordingly. The one thing that kept this game close in '10 was Flacco started off very hot- he was 14/17 by the half, but cooled off. He must bring his A+ game to keep his team in this game. This game should probably be a close one, hard fought, and the victory will probably not be more than a TD or a TD + FG, barring any big surprise or injury. I invite commentary, criticism, and your X's and O's. Some excellent threads here and I don't mean to start yet another one.. but thought this would be more of a strategic approach, in terms of how you would draw up the game plan.