Football season is flying. It’s already Week 10 in the NFL and many teams are up against “must win” games. This includes the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, they are 6-2. HOWEVER, the 5-3 Pittsburgh Steelers are slowly but surely bringing up the rear. The Ravens will look to pad their division lead and continue their dominance at home Sunday against the 3-5 Oakland Raiders.
On Offense: Any QB can carve up opposing defenses when given the time. Ravens QB Joe Flacco is generally a star at home. In order for him to keep shining the offense line will need to keep him clean. The Oakland Raiders defense allowed Tampa Bay rookie RB Doug Martin to have a field day against them last week. He ran for 251 yards and a touchdown. Ravens need to take advantage of the Raiders poor run defense. Paging Ray Rice, Mr. Rice: it’s your turn.
On Defense: The Ravens need to be careful here. It is highly likely that the Raiders will be without RBs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson. FB Marcel Reece should get the bulk of the carries. But, there is very little film on him. It is also important to note that Raiders QB Carson Palmer is a familiar foe. The former Cincinnati Bengals QB has had some pretty good games against the Ravens. Granted the Raiders aren’t the Bengals. But, Palmer is 9-4 in his career against the Ravens.
The biggest key to this game and every game going forward is penalties. The Ravens have picked up 66 penalties for a whopping 577 yards; second most in the NFL behind the Washington Redskins. They. Must. Stop.
Taking the Raiders out of the equation for a second, this is a huge test for the Ravens. Don’t want to look too far ahead. But, the road ahead is a little rocky as the team goes on to face the Pittsburgh Steelers twice, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos and New York Giants.
Much like the Cleveland Browns game, this is one the Ravens should dominate and win handily. But, they like to win ugly, apparently.
The Pick: Ravens 24, Raiders 17