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Patriots-Ravens matchup of the day: Thursday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Oct. 14, 2010 @ 4:53 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a matchup to keep an eye on in the Week Six game between the Patriots and Ravens:

Patriots NT Vince Wilfork vs. Ravens offensive line

Wilfork had a career game in the Pats' playoffs loss to the Ravens back in January, recording 13 tackles, including a tackle for loss, quite a few for a nose tackle. But he also was moved significantly by the Ravens' O-line on Ray Rice's 83-yard TD run, thus being a non-factor in the play.

In Week Four against the Dolphins, Wilfork moved to left end instead of hovering over the opponent's center, paving the way for Mike Wright to play the nose. It seemed to work against Miami, and Wilfork likely will do the same on Sunday and force the Ravens to run away from him.

If Wilfork is in the middle, he will be up against veteran C Matt Birk. If he is on the left end, he could compete with ORG Chris Chester, whom Wilfork has a significant size advantage over. Wilfork is big enough and good enough to force teams to run away from him, and that can help the Patriots contain Rice, who torched them last season. The Patriots also need to establish a pass rush against Joe Flacco to take pressure off their secondary while they try and guard WRs Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. If Wilfork can get penetration and handle double-teams, the linebackers and other D-linemen will have an easier time getting to Flacco.

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