Raiders vs. Ravens Pregame Analysis

The Oakland Raiders are at a very pivotal point in their season. They are officially at the halfway mark, resting on an uncomfortable 3-5 record. This week the Raiders will fly across country to face the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have historically boasted an uncompromising defense, but enter this weeks contest ranked 26th in the league. They are currently allowing an uncharacteristic offensive average of 386.3 yards per game. However, it would be misleading if I failed to mention that the Ravens are playing without their All Pro Defensive leader Ray Lewis and teammate Lardarius Webb. Even with the absence of such talent, the Ravens still manage to boast the second-best record in the AFC. So what should we watch for during this weeks matchup?

Ray Rice vs. Raiders Defensive Line

Last week the Raiders run defense was shamefully mistreated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin. Martin ran for 251 yards against the Raiders, having his way with their defense like a high-priced hooker. Ironically, Martin has recently been drawing eerie comparisons to another talented running back, Ray Rice; who happens to play for the Baltimore Ravens. The Raiders must win this battle upfront if they expect to keep themselves in the game. If they allow Rice to rack up an extensive amount of yards early, they will find themselves in the often to familiar setting of playing from behind. So the magic word for the Raiders defense will be “containment.” In Rice’s last game he carried the ball 25 times for a respectable 98 yards.

Raiders Offensive Line vs. Baltimore Defensive line

This is another critical area that could allow the game to get out of hand early. The Raiders offensive line has been consistently inconsistent with their run block and pass protection. At times they’ve played like a group worth of Pro Bowl attention, and others times they’ve stunk up the place like a seven day old soiled diaper. Most visible is Raiders RT Willie Smith who was being used as a turnstile in the game against Tampa Bay. When he wasn’t getting blown by, it seemed like he was being called for holding. One of those calls came back to bite the Raiders at a critical point in the game. Smith was called for holding on a 47 yard touchdown pass that Palmer threw to Raiders WR Derrick Hagan. Raiders coach Dennis Allen alluded that Smith may be replaced in the line up by RT Kalif Barnes, who is attempting to return from a groin injury. However, if Barnes is unable to go, then Raider rooking RT Tony Bergstrom may get the nod instead.

Carson Palmer vs. Himself

Ummm Yeah….this one is pretty self explanatory. Im sure we are all familiar with the expression “You need to get out your own way.” That pretty much encapsulates Palmers performance this year. He’ll give you the big play, then turn right around and kill you with a game losing interception. I’m not even a Palmer hater. Truth be told, I think he can be amongst some of the NFL’s elite, but in order to do so, he must minimize some of the questionable decisions that have haunted him this year. Not to place all the blame on Palmer, because at times his young receivers have not ran the right routes either. However, Palmer knows he needs to play better and more consistently if the Raider intend to make a second-half run.

About Brian Mims

Brian Mims is an the Executive Writer for Brickhouse Talk. He is well known for his straight forward perspective on sports and all it's aspects. An avid sport fan himself, Brian is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the sports world.

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