By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens have begun preparing for their match against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens will look to build off of their performance against the Cleveland Browns, where they showed flashes of dominance. Balitmore will look to focus on improving their defensive scheme and executing plays on offense.
The Ravens have hinted at going away from the no-huddle attack the past few weeks, but Baltimore has used this style of offense to near perfection during home games. It will be in the team’s best interest to insert a good portion of this scheme into their game plan against the Raiders.
One thing Baltimore will focus on will be the running game against a Raiders team that gave up 251 yards to rookie Buccaneer RB Doug Martin last Sunday. Ray Rice took notice of the Raiders’ defensive struggles and was visibly pumped up about the chance to duplicate Martin’s performance.
“Obviously, you look at [the Raiders game against the Bucs], and you do start getting excited when you see it happening,” said Ray Rice on Wednesday. “After looking at the film — it was just a lot of them missing tackles. The guys were in position. I guess his height helped [Doug Martin] out. They say he’s about 5-9, 215 [pounds], but I think he’s a little bigger than that.”
Rice has a similar build at 5-8 and 212 pounds. As the temperature drops, the carries increase for Rice. And if he can somehow figure out how Martin attacked the Raiders defense, he has the skill set to duplicate his performance.
Defensively, Baltimore will most likely not have to worry about Darren McFadden for this game. The dynamic running back suffered a high ankle sprain that typically takes a few weeks to heal. If he can’t go, that takes away a huge dimension of the Raiders offense. The Ravens will instead focus on containing Carson Palmer. The former Cincinnati Bengal is very familiar with the Ravens’ defense and will look to play spoiler in front of a sold out Baltimore stadium on Sunday. Terrell Suggs is well aware of how dangerous Palmer can be.
“[Palmer] is one of those underrated quarterbacks that can make every throw, especially if he gets in a groove. You all saw it when he was in Cincinnati. I remember, vividly, games I thought we had won, and Carson Palmer got in his groove, and he torched us. He is a really good quarterback, and he knows us pretty well, too, so he is going to come planning on having a good day.”
The Ravens will need to get a solid performance from their secondary. The team did a good job of holding the Browns to under 200 yards passing, and they’ll need to continue that trend, as the Raiders may be throwing the ball – a lot. Carson Palmer threw the ball 61 times on Sunday against Tampa Bay. He’s currently 5th in the league in passing attempts and 10th in passing yards. The Ravens will get a good idea of how good their pass defense is on Sunday. And so will Carson Palmer.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.