The Oakland Raiders are happy to finally be back in action today against the Baltimore Ravens, as they will be able to achieve redemption coming off of last week’s atrocious loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Raiders allowed 251 rushing yards and four touchdowns to rookie running back Doug Martin. The Raiders were trailing by as many as 18 points, but were able to make a final push in the fourth quarter, until Carson Palmer threw the game away with a costly interception. The game ended with a final score of 42-32 and the Oakland home crowd was dissapointed to say the least.
So what now? The Raiders stand at a crummy 3-5 with playoff hopes drowning away every week. The Raiders really need to come out and make a statement today, because time is running out. They are two games behind the Denver Broncos for the division lead, and if they can catch fire and start to win some games, things will start to get interesting. Even if they fall short of capturing the AFC West crown, they can still make a push for the wild card spot, something that slipped through their fingers last season.
But it has to start today. And unfortunately, it’s against the Baltimore Ravens. Sure, their star defensive players Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb are out for the season due to injuries, but look who else they have. On defense, they still have stars like Ed Reed, who is arguably the best safety in the league, and Terrell Suggs, someone you really don’t want to mess with. And don’t you dare sleep on Haloti Ngata. The Ravens have an elite defense by any means and the Raiders will have their hands full this afternoon. It’ll take a lot, but I believe the Raiders can really strike fear to the Ravens today if they can get their act together.
The Raiders defense will also have their hands full. They will be going against Joe Flacco, a quarterback who has received a lot of criticism over the years, but still gets the job done at a highly efficient level. Then there’s Ray Rice, star running back who grinds his way for as many yards as he can every time he touches the ball. Across the board, the Raiders will also have to cover guys like Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. But luckily for the Raiders, starting this week, their coverage squad will be improving drastically.
The Raiders announced this week that they will be cutting cornerback Pat Lee, to make room for Ron Bartell, who is now healthy after breaking his shoulder blade in his first game in a Raiders uniform. This is great news for the entire Raiders organization, as Pat Lee had been struggling with coverage, and now Ron Bartell, the 8-year NFL veteran, will be able to cover opposing wide receivers much better.
But with every good news, there usually travels some bad news. On Friday night, it was announced that Tyson Williams, the 4-year-old son of Raiders defensive line coach Terrell Williams, passed away on Friday night. “We were all shocked by the news we received when we arrived in Baltimore,” said Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. Hopefully the Raiders will be able to stay focused and mentally strong and win this game against Baltimore for Tyson.
And hey, speaking of bad news, let’s talk injuries. Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are both inactive today, after suffering high ankle sprains against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. Taiwan Jones and Marcel Reese will likely share the carries today.
Also injured is Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour, due to a lingering hamstring injury that he has been dealing with.
There will be a lot to watch for in today’s game, so make sure you tune into CBS at 10 AM PT to catch all the action.