But don’t hold your breath waiting…the Ravens offense has been beyond bad the last two games (both losses), and it’s trending toward putrid. It’s a combination of bad blocking by the patchwork O-Line, Joe Flacco not getting enough time to set up for deep throws, and frankly some questionable playcalling sequences by OC Marty Mornhinweg.
The Ravens seem to have caught a break with Oakland’s emerging star QB Derek Carr out for the game and with E.J. Manuel filling in—but seriously, at this point, the Ravens offense is possibly incapable of scoring more points than E.J. Manuel will for the Raiders. That’s saying a lot and not much at the same time.
Game time: 4:05 p.m., Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
TV: CBS/WJZ (Ch. 13)
TV Crew: Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst), Jamie Erdahl (sideline)
Radio: 98 Rock | WBAL-1090 AM
Local Radio Crew: Gerry Sandusky (play-by-play), Stan White (analyst), Todd Heap (analyst)
Baltimore ranks 30th in the league in total offense and last in passing offense (142.5 yards per game). The Ravens were able to lean on their top-10 running game in the first two games, but when forced to throw more when trying to overcome big first-half deficits, Baltimore has fallen flat. The Ravens talked this week about the need to make a big play or have a long drive to get confidence back.
Defensively, the Ravens came into the season talking about being the league’s top unit. Their 10 turnovers in the first two weeks were unheard of, but the unit has stumbled the past two weeks with DT Brandon Williams sidelined. The run defense needs to do a better job holding the edge and the pass rush must improve. The Raiders will threaten with Marshawn Lynch and a strong offensive line, but Baltimore’s defense should have an easier time going up against backup backup quarterback E.J. Manuel instead of Derek Carr (back).
Players to watch according to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com:
RB Alex Collins
“Collins has been the Ravens’ best playmaker so far this season. He leads the NFL with 8.2 yards per carry, totaling 206 yards on 25 attempts. The problem has been fumbles. He’s put the ball on the ground twice already this season, and he also fumbled twice last year on just 31 carries. Collins is looking to prove that he can hold onto the ball, and practiced better technique this week. He’s on a short leash, per Head Coach John Harbaugh.”
QB Joe Flacco
“Flacco has the longest streak in the NFL for consecutive games with at least one interception thrown (10 games). Just like Collins, he needs to take better care of the football. The Ravens had so much success in the first two weeks because they dominated the turnover battle. That has flipped in both losses. Flacco talked this week about playing free and fast, and he wants to get the deep passing game and wide receivers more involved.”
OLB Terrell Suggs
“The Ravens need to do a better job of holding up on the edges of the defense and could use some more pass rush. After starting the season with three sacks and a couple forced fumbles in the first two games, Suggs has gone cold the past two weeks. Suggs is also a major part of helping the defense fix its schematic problems from last week.”