Commentary

What to watch for this weekend

After looking at game film, Gary Horton tells you what to pay attention to this weekend.

Originally Published: January 16, 2009
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.

After breaking down film and critiquing the teams heading into this weekend, Scouts Inc. tells you what to pay attention to.

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Bringing the blitz

Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have similar blitzing schemes. All three will use zone blitzes or come off the edge with combination coverages behind them. The Ravens, Eagles and Steelers will also use a lot of pre-snap movement to try to confuse the opposing offensive linemen. The Cardinals won't blitz as much, but they will use a lot of confusing pre-snap looks and exotic packages in terms of alignment.

The Steelers should have the most trouble this weekend because their offensive line has struggled and the Ravens are strong on defense, even if OLB Terrell Suggs isn't 100 percent.

Rushing yards at a premium

All four teams will put an emphasis on running the football this week, but that could be easier said than done. The Ravens will commit to the run but struggle against the Steelers' stout defense -- especially because RB Le'Ron McClain is banged up. Steelers RB Willie Parker played well last week against the Chargers, but the Ravens will not allow him to have a repeat performance. The Cardinals have worked to establish a right-handed rushing attack, but they will struggle against an active Eagles front seven. Eagles RB Brian Westbrook has struggled this postseason and is not fully healthy, but he should still have the best rushing performance this weekend against an improved -- but still undisciplined -- Cardinals defense.

Gary Horton, a pro scout for Scouts Inc., has been a football talent evaluator for more than 30 years. He spent 10 years in the NFL and 10 years at the college level before launching a private scouting firm, The War Room.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.