Preview & Predictions: Week 12, Oakland Raider

The Baltimore Ravens are set to take on the Oakland Raiders in another crucial game. The 5-5 Ravens cannot afford to lose many more games. The Ravens may have fate on their side, however, as the matchup against the 2-8 Raiders seems favorable. Despite this, no game is a guaranteed victory in the NFL. Many Ravens fans may see this as a sure win, while others realize that it has the potential to be a trap game. No matter the fashion, the Baltimore Ravens must secure a victory against the Oakland Raiders to continue the late-season playoff push. Here are the three keys to ensure a Ravens victory:

Ravens Must Continue Ground Game Success

Imperative to the Ravens offensive scheme against the Oakland Raiders will be the ground attack. Last week, Baltimore’s ground offensive exploded. The Ravens rushed for 267 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore utilized a read-option scheme to give their rushers a chance. Baltimore used quarterback Lamar Jackson to rush outside, and undrafted rookie, Gus Edwards, to go north and south. The scheme worked, as Jackson produced 119 yards on the ground, and Edwards contributed 115. The ground game will need to perform the same way against the 31st ranked Oakland Raiders run defense. Lamar Jackson is still an inconsistent passer, so Baltimore will try to keep the ball on the ground. Jon Gruden’s team has won both of its victories against teams starting rookie quarterbacks. (The Cleveland Browns and the Arizona Cardinals.) The Ravens will need to have a stabilizing run game to avoid this outcome.

Ravens Must Take Advantage of Low Talent Team

The Oakland Raiders are a very low talent team. Head coach, Jon Gruden, has purged the team of its best players in an effort to completely reconstruct the roster. Out are Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, in exchange for a bunch of high-value draft picks. Predictably, the Raiders have failed to capture many wins without much talent. To complicate matters, Oakland has been decimated by injuries. The Raiders will be without wide receiver, Martavius Bryant, and may miss Jordy Nelson and cornerback Leon Hall. Oakland’s injured reserve is filled with 11 players, including running back Marshawn Lynch, tackle Donald Penn, and wide receiver Brandon LaFell. The Baltimore Ravens must take advantage of the absence of great talent on the Raiders to win the game.

Ravens Defense Must Play Fast and Tight

The Baltimore Ravens will have a shot to hold an underperforming offense to a limited amount of points. The Oakland Raiders are ranked 22nd in the league in average yards per game (347.2), 30th in average points per game (17), 17th in passing yards per game (244.6), and 23rd in rushing yards per game (102.6). Last week against Cincinnati, the Ravens’ defense rose to its typical standards and played well. The unit will have another shot to prove its capability, this time against the subpar Raiders. The defense must play fast and tight, and not allow Derek Carr to unleash his gunslinging potential. Cornerbacks will have to cover pass catchers well, and linebackers will have to cover the middle of the field and watch for rushing attempts. If the Ravens can shut down the Raiders offense, the game will be much easier to win.

Predictions:

The Baltimore Ravens will establish the run game, take advantage of the low talent on the Raiders, and shut down the Raiders offense. In all, it will be a complete football game. Lamar Jackson will attempt around 25 passes and will complete 17 for 205 yards, and no touchdowns. The running game will take center stage again, as theRavens will score three touchdowns on the ground. One will come from Lamar Jackson, one from Ty Montgomery, and one from Gus Edwards.

FINAL: Ravens – 24     Raiders – 10

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