Oakland (3-5) @ Baltimore (6-2)
AT: M&T Bank Stadium, Nov. 11, 2012 – 1:00pm
The Ravens come back home to the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium. The team played better on the road last Sunday in Cleveland, but then again they could have produced more on offense. The Ravens defense still has things to iron out like coverage and pass rush, while the offense has to find consistency for all four quarters. The Raiders, have been a mixed bag, they play close games and even beat the Steelers earlier this season. Lately though they have fallen off due to inconsistent play.
CHALK IT UP/KEY MATCH-UPS:
RB Ray Rice vs. Raiders D:
The Raiders run defense has a talented front four (DE Lamar Houston, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Richard Seymour, DE Matt Shaughnessy), but this year they haven’t been as effective. Last week they gave up 251 yards to Tampa Bay’s back. The unit ranks 21st versus the run. If anything was evident last week, Ray Rice helps the Ravens passing attack, making play-action for QB Joe Flacco so much more effective. It seems obvious (well for most of us), to continue to give the ball to Ray Rice, and establishing the run game will be key in this match-up.
WR Torrey Smith vs. CB Michael Huff:
Huff was moved from safety to corner and has been effective for the most part. The Ravens could have some success with the speed of Torrey Smith. Last Sunday Huff allowed a long touchdown pass of 64 yards to WR Vincent Jackson. The Raiders secondary ranks 21st in pass yards allowed (245.2).
Ravens Pass Rush vs. QB Carson Palmer:
For years Carson Palmer gave the Ravens fits when he played for Cincinnati. Despite Oakland’s record Palmer and the passing attack rank 7th (281 yards per game) overall. They pose a serious threat to the Ravens if the defense allows Palmer time in the pocket. The Ravens have to find some sort of pass rush. They tried a few things last week (stunts) and were able to flush QB Weeden out of the pocket. Still, they really haven’t been all that effective in getting opposing quarterbacks to the ground.
Ravens Coverage vs. Raiders Speedy Receivers:
WR Denarius Moore has been a bright spot for Oakland with 485 receiving yards, 16.2 rec. average, 4 TD’s. As a whole the Raiders receiving core has much speed with WR Derrius Heyward-Bey and WR Rod Streater. Another weapon is tight end Brandon Myers who leads the team with 39 receptions. My colleagues Matt Jergensen and Jonathan Scruggs have been hammering for defensive coordinator Dan Pees to play more press at the line. This year the corners (Jimmy Smith & Cary Williams) have been playing less physical at the line. There’s always a risk of getting blown off the line, but it may be something for the Ravens to start thinking about.
Ravens Run D vs. RB Darren McFadden:
The Ravens run defense played a lot better last week. Yes, they gave up 105 yards to a very good running back in Trent Richardson, but they were not at all embarrassed. This week, the Raiders have a shifty running back in Darren McFadden. KEY INJURY: The bad news for the Raiders is that McFadden has a high ankle sprain, so his availability will be known later in the week. Depth is an issue as well, back up Mike Goodsen also has an ankle injury.