Ravens DC: Wilson is 'like playing against Steph Curry'

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Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale has a conundrum on his hands for Sunday versus the Seattle Seahawks: be true to himself and bring pressure against Russell Wilson, or try to sit back in coverage?

Martindale knows the answer could burn him either way.

"It's sort of like playing against Steph Curry in basketball, if you will," Martindale said, via NBC Sports Washington. "You can pick him half court and he's going to try to drive by you or you can slack off and he's going to pull up and hit a three."

Wilson the magician has compared himself to the NBA star. Now an opposing defensive coordinator is making a very apt comparison to the challenge of defending the Seahawks QB.

A frontrunner for the 2019 MVP award, Wilson has been unstoppable through six weeks, carrying Seattle to a 5-1 record. Wilson leads the NFL in passer rating (124.7) this season -- 12.8 points higher than the next-best QB this season entering Week 7 (Patrick Mahomes 111.9). Since 1975, there have been seven instances of a passer rating leader finishing the season with a passer rating 10-plus points higher than the next-highest rated QB -- all seven won MVP that season.

It's not as though Wilson has dink-and-dunked his way to good stats, either. Per Next Gen Stats, Wilson throws outside the numbers -- some of the most difficult passes -- on 59.3 percent of his attempts, the highest rate in the NFL. The league average on such throws is 59.4 completion rate. Wilson hits 70.5 percent of passes outside the numbers.

Earl Thomas knows Wilson as well as any defender, having spent nine seasons in Seattle. The safety understands what to expect from the QB.

"Everything is predicated off the run game, and we also know that Russell can extend plays," Thomas said. "That's when he kind of works his magic -- when he plays backyard football. And his receivers do a great job of just melding with him and creating space, boxing guys out and creating leverages and coming up with big catches."

To bolster Thomas' point about Wilson extending plays, the QB excels on passes with 4-plus seconds to throw (15.9 percent of his attempts, the fifth-highest rate in NFL). Per Next Gen Stats, the NFL average on such passes: 67.4 passer rating, 44.2 completion percent. Wilson on those attempts: 139.2 passer rating, 66.7 completion percent.

Slowing Wilson is a lot like stopping Steph Curry. Sometimes it's just impossible.

The Ravens' job is to make the impossible seem imaginable Sunday afternoon.

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