Last week’s win against the Cardinals certainly helped the Raiders morale in what has been a difficult season. But the journey doesn’t get easier as the team travels to chilly Baltimore to battle the Ravens.
The Oakland Raiders ended their five-game losing streak last week under the most optimum of circumstances: they beat a team that may actually be worse than them at home, 23-21 over the Arizona Cardinals.
This week they go on the road to face the 5-5 Baltimore Ravens, which is looking to be the start of another five-game losing streak that will end the season as they will next face the Chiefs (at home), the Steelers (at home), the Bengals (on the road), Denver (at home) and then the Chiefs again (on the road).
So, the game against the Ravens this week could be their best chance to get a win as the Raiders play out the string.
Derek Carr, in the midst of one of his best seasons, finished the game against the Cardinals with 192 passing yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He hooked up with Jared Cook for a 23-yard score in the first quarter and then hit Brandon LaFell in the second quarter for a touchdown. He hasn’t thrown an interception in five straight games.
The other bright spot for the Raiders was kicker Daniel Carlson, who lost a job for missing three field goals in a game while a member of the Vikings earlier this season. Last week, he hit three field goals, including the game-winner with two seconds left.
The Ravens will be without starting quarterback Joe Flacco for a second straight game. Lamar Jackson started last week and led the team to a 24-21 win against the Bengals that snapped a three-game losing streak.
While the Ravens may be 5-5 overall, they boast the top-ranked defense in the NFL and 12th-ranked offense. The defense is second-ranked against the pass and third against the run.
The Raiders, on the other hand, are 26th overall on defense (31st against the run) and 22nd on offense.
For the Raiders to have a chance, Carr is going to have to have another good game as the running corps of Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington has been underwhelming so far. Martin is coming off a week that saw him miss the second half against he Cardinals with an ankle injury.
If Carr has a good game, so will Cook. The tight end leads the team with 577 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
The defense will face a challenge in the mobile Jackson. The linebacking crew of Tahir Whitehead, Marquel Lee and Emmanuel Lamur will have to keep their eyes on Jackson out of the backfield. Jackson rushed for 117 yards last week on 27 carries.
On the injury front, wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been listed as out for the game, while fellow wideout Jordy Nelson is listed as questionable along with cornerback Leon Hall. Nelson isn’t expected to play.
The Ravens list Flacco and tackle James Hurst as out for the game. Listed as questionable are defensive back Anthony Levine, center Tavon Young, linebacker Tim Williams, running back Alex Collins and guard Alex Lewis.
Even with that long injury list, the Ravens opened as a 12-point favorite, although that number has been bet down to 10.5 points. The total opened at 42.5 points and has remained there.
Game time is 10 a.m.