Raiders vs Ravens – The Ravens can win their second straight game and move above .500 in their battle for an AFC playoff spot. With just six games left, the Ravens are among five AFC teams at 5-5 and Baltimore currently holds the sixth and final playoff seed. A victory would keep Baltimore in control of its playoff destiny.
The Ravens hold a 7-3 edge in the all-time series, including a 5-1 record in Baltimore. Last season, the Ravens won in Oakland, 30-17, as cornerback Jimmy Smith scored on a 47-yard fumble return that helped stake Baltimore to a 21-3 lead. Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who spent 2015-17 with the Raiders, caught a 41-yard touchdown pass against Baltimore last season.
Jackson’s first NFL start was a success, as he rushed for 115 yards and led the Ravens to a 24-21 victory. However, the Ravens want to reduce the 27 rushing attempts Jackson had against the Bengals. They would also like to get their wide receivers more involved. If Jackson gets the nod over Joe Flacco (hip), it will be interesting to see how much the Ravens’ game plan changes in one week and how opponents adapt.
Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers have fewer takeaways than the Ravens, who have just seven. Baltimore’s last takeaway was a fumble recovery by defensive tackle Michael Pierce in Week 7 against the Saints. The Ravens could make things easier on themselves by forcing the Raiders into a few mistakes.
Rookie running back Gus Edwards and Jackson both topped 100 yards rushing against the Bengals, who have the worst rushing defense statistically in the NFL. Guess who has the second-worst rushing defense? The Raiders. A strong running game could continue to be the Ravens’ recipe for success.
The Raiders could assign a spy to Jackson, hoping to prevent him from making big plays with his legs. It will be important for Jackson to make tacklers miss, and to avoid big hits when he decides to scramble.
Cook leads Oakland in receptions (45) and receiving yards (577). Covering tight ends has given Baltimore problems in the past, and Cook is the target that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr relies on in key situations, particularly in the red zone and on third down.
Brown has been held to 28 receiving yards or fewer in three of the last four games. Baltimore needs to reestablish Brown as a big-play threat, and Oakland has struggled in pass coverage. Jackson may test Oakland’s secondary with some deep targets to Brown.