The 3-5 Oakland Raiders come to Baltimore to take on the AFC North leading Ravens in week 10. The Raiders have won 2 of their last 3, but those wins were against Kansas City and Jacksonville. The Ravens have won 5 of their last 6, but those wins were much less than convincing. This game has the potential to be very close and could be decided in the 4th quarter.
Key Matchup: Ravens defense vs. Raiders running backs. The Ravens have been horrible at stopping the run this year. Injuries to Ray Lewis and others have contributed but really no one saw this coming. Luckily for them they face the 2nd to worst rushing offense in the NFL. Darren McFadden has, again, been plagued by injuries and has just failed to get anything going and will likely not play in this game. If the Ravens can stop the run they will force Carson Palmer to throw the ball 40 times and a couple picks at least. The Ravens must not let the Raiders have long and methodical drives down the field by running the ball.
Injury Report: The Ravens have several guys with minor tweaks or injuries all over the place, especially the defense, but I don’t think anyone significant will miss this game. The Raiders’ best running back, Darren McFadden, will miss the game along with key defensive players Spencer and Seymour. The absence of McFadden is going to make it difficult to establish a running game and could be a big problem if Taiwan Jones doesn’t fill his shoes.
Player to Watch: Ray Rice. Look for the Ravens to get back to the basics this week. They can win this game by pounding the football and Rice is the right man for the job. Look for him to get the ball 25 times and rack up over a hundred yards against the 22nd ranked rush defense of the Raiders.
My Prediction: Raiders 23 Ravens 31. The Ravens will run the ball down the throat of the Oakland defense. The Raiders will be able to score but won’t be able to keep up with Ray Rice and the Baltimore offense. This game may be decided in the 4th quarter and I trust the veteran group of Flacco, Rice and company over Carson Palmer and Taiwan Jones any day.