By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens will match up against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Here’s the scouting report.
Oakland Raiders’ record: (3-5-0) 3rd in the AFC West
The Oakland Raiders will enter M&T Bank Stadium with a chance to play spoiler and keep their slim postseason hopes alive. If they are to get the job done, they’ll need to get a big game out of Carson Palmer. The Raiders quarterback is coming off a game where he threw the ball 61 times. Oakland may place the ball in Palmer’s hand an equal amount of times against a Ravens secondary that can be vulnerable to the pass. The Raiders will need to be careful however, as Baltimore’s secondary has slowly started to improve. And with future hall of fame safety Ed Reed still lurking in the secondary, too many passes can lead to turnovers.
With Darren McFadden out, the Raiders may not get much going on the ground on Sunday. Even prior to his injury, Oakland wasn’t very good at running the ball. They are currently 31st in the league in rushing yards. The Raiders will start Taiwan Jones as their running back in this game. Though he hasn’t seen much action the past couple of seasons, he can be explosive off the line of scrimmage. Baltimore will need to be careful as a few missed tackles can lead to 6 points.
The fans of Baltimore haven’t been thrilled about the way the Ravens defense has played this year. If the Ravens defense makes you sick, watching the Raiders defense may be bad for your health. Their defense is coming off a game in which they gave up 251 rushing to Doug Martin. If they are to have any chance in this game, they’ll have to clean up their tackling against a Ravens team featuring one of the most prolific running backs in the game. It seems as though every year the Ravens forget about Ray Rice in September and October, only to run him down teams’ throats in November and December. Unfortunately for Oakland, they are playing Baltimore in the month of November.
If they find a way to stop Rice, they’ll have more issues to deal with as Flacco has been seemingly unbeatable at home this season. At home, Flacco is averaging 317 yards a game with a completion percentage of 67%. Seven of his ten touchdowns have been at home. In contrast, 4 of his 6 interceptions have been on the road. Simply put, Flacco has been dangerous at M&T Bank Stadium. With Richard Seymour probably out for this game, it’ll be up to Michael Huff and the rest of the Raiders defense to ensure that Flacco doesn’t have another big game at home.
Dennis Allen will look to test the Ravens run defense in the early goings of this game. If that doesn’t work, he’ll give Carson Palmer the nod to control the game with his arm. The Raiders haven’t had much success against the Ravens. Including the postseason, Oakland is (1-6) against Baltimore. But the Raiders trump card could be former Bengals QB Carson Palmer. Carson has had much success against the defense when they were at their best, holding a record of 9-4 against the purple and black.
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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.