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Michael Taylor 20th Dec 2008 - 14:47

Flacco must be Ware-y of blitz

Baltimore's rookie quarterback Joe Flacco faces his toughest test yet as he comes up against Dallas' NFL sack leader DeMarcus Ware, in a must win game for both teams.

Flacco, a surprise first round draft pick out of the University of Delaware, has been steady if unspectacular in his first season while Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh continues to protect him with a run-heavy offence.

However, when Flacco is forced to throw against the Cowboys he may find DeMarcus lining him up with a dangerous look in his eyes, and rightly so.

Ware has been one of the few consistent cogs in the Dallas defence, and, after three sacks against the New York Giants last week, the linebacker now has a good chance of beating Michael Strahan's single season sacks record of 22.5.

DeMarcus currently has 19 sacks to his name and is firmly establishing himself as the best outside pass rusher in the NFL; just the sort of news Flacco doesn't want to hear in the biggest match of his young career.

With a host of teams boasting 9-5 records, including the Ravens and Cowboys, looking for a wild card spot they know that anything other than a win could end their season.

The Cowboys, despite Terrell Owens recent outburst, look to be going from strength to strength with Wade Phillips now making the defensive calls, and start the Saturday game as 5/11 favourites to win.

Their performance against the understrength Giants was impressive but Baltimore, with their second ranked defence, are likely to be a different prospect.

The Ravens are priced 9/5, which may prove to be too short to take seriously given the Cowboys' recent form, but they will be no pushover.

In the first touchdown scorer market Terrell Owens is worth watching out for at 13/2, as he looks to makes amends with the Texas Stadium fans, while Tashard Choice at 11/2 looks better value than the 13/2 about Marion Barber.

For Baltimore the 28/1 about Flacco could prove interesting as running the ball may prove his only way of avoiding the Dallas blitz, while top rusher Le'Ron McClain at 6/1 could be worth a shout.

The best bet of the day looks like 20/23 about under 20 points being scored in the first half. Both teams can score but with Baltimore's awesome defensive unit and Dallas' strength against the run it should be tight - at least in the first half.

Baltimore Ravens @ Dallas Cowboys betting

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