In the NFL Live video above, ESPN analysts Mark Schlereth and Tedy Bruschi break down their key matchups for the Patriots-Ravens AFC title game. Their keys, nor surprisingly, are connected to each other.
Schlereth starts out with his matchup to watch: How can the Ravens hope to cover all of Tom Brady’s weapons in the passing game?
“You can’t double team everybody,” Schlereth says. "And that’s where you get these mismatches, with the two tight ends sets, with Wes Welker in the slot. It’s going to be one of those guys, one of those (Ravens) safeties, one of those linebackers, that’s going to be one on one with Welker, with an Aaron Hernandez, or with a Rob Gronkowski, and those are the mismatches. The thing about Tom Brady, he finds those mismatches, he sees where those one-on-one matchups are and he delivers the football.”
The key to Brady finding those mismatches, Bruschi says, is the offensive line giving the quarterback the proper time to read the coverage and find the optimal target.
“If you don’t have the time and you’re on your back, it’s going to be a problem,” Bruschi says. “That’s why my key matchup is left tackle Matt Light vs. outside linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens. Suggs has had his way with Matt Light in the past. It’s going to be paramount for Matt Light to give Tom Brady time.
“That’s the way you solve all those (coverage) problems (if you’re the Ravens). You get to (Brady), you put him on his back, or just get him to move ever so slightly, get that pressure on him early and all of a sudden you have a game. so Matt Light, you’ve got to block Terrell Suggs.”