Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Baltimore Ravens

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Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) sits on the ground after an injury to his left lower leg in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Take Advantage of Terrell SuggsAbsence

Every team is battling injuries somewhere on their roster. In a game as physical and violent as football, guys can be expected to get dinged and nicked on a near weekly basis and injuries in key spots can leave teams vulnerable. The Raiders have their own injury concerns, but they absolutely must take advantage of Baltimore’s injuries.

For years upon years, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs were the heart and soul of that Ravens defense. For the first time in seemingly forever, the Ravens will be without all three of them. Suggs, the last man in that triumvirate left standing, blew out his Achilles last week against the Broncos and is done for the year.

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Though the Ravens have plenty of defensive talent in Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty, Lardarius Webb, and Jimmy Smith, losing Suggs and the energy he brought to that defense will be felt. The Ravens have said all the right things about the “next man up” since Suggs went down, but he was the glue, he was the leader on that defensive squad and his absence is going to have an impact.

The Raiders absolutely must take advantage of even the slightest letdown or hesitation in that Baltimore offense. Especially with rookie Za’Darius Smith attempting to fill those pretty sizeable shoes. Though Smith is obviously a baller and a fierce competitor, he’s not Terrell Suggs. And, he’s a rookie. Those two things work in Oakland’s favor if they can take advantage of them.

Oakland can use a combination of runs and short passes over the middle to keep the Baltimore linebackers busy and keep them guessing. And they must absolutely attack the rookie Smith. He won’t be nearly as instinctual as Suggs when it comes to making plays, and they may force him to make a few critical mistakes if they put their foot on his throat and keep squeezing.

The Raiders must attack the weak links in Baltimore’s defense, and the absence of Terrell Suggs leaves a chink in the armor for them to exploit.

Next: Dial Up The Pressure