Week 2 is here and the Baltimore Ravens need to find find a way to bounce back from a disappointing loss a week ago to the Denver Broncos. Though the offense didn’t look good, partially due to Denver’s great defense, the defense looked very good, allowing no offensive touchdowns and even scoring a touchdown of their own.
This week the Ravens will going into the Black Hole to face the Oakland Raiders, hoping to return home with a 1 in the win column going into their first divisional game of the year against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Raiders themselves will be looking for a bounce back win after being handed a 33-13 loss by the Bengals, but what makes them tick?
Led by a new head coach, Jack Del Rio, the Raiders are looking to finally buck the trend of not making the playoffs, and also having a top 10 pick. However, the last few poor seasons may be the reason they turn thing around. With young, ascending players all over their roster, the Raiders have a lot to be excited for.
That excitement seems to be mainly focused on the offense. In the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft the Raiders selected Derek Carr. He was largely seen as a ‘high ceiling’ player but one with a lot of ‘pro-ready’ traits. He did show flashes of that last year. He threw 21 touchdowns to 12 interceptions and 3,270 yards.
If Carr can show even more of the potential he showed coming out of college, including the additions of Michael Crabtree in free agency and Amari Cooper in the draft along with other breakout candidates such as Latavius Murray and Mychal Rivera, this offense is certainly poised to be frisky.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, there is too much promise compared to production. Last week they managed only 14 points, both of those touchdowns coming late in the game when the Bengals appeared to have eased off the gas pedal.
Furthermore, Derek Carr left the game with an injured right thumb, which is his throwing hand. Though he has been cleared to play against the Ravens, you can’t help but question how well he’ll be able to throw the ball with an injured thumb.
The defense, on the other hand, doesn’t quite show as much promise. Although they do boast arguably the best young defensive player in the league in Khalil Mack, future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, 2012 First Team All-Pro Aldon Smith, and Super Bowl 48 MVP Malcolm Smith, the rest of the defense hasn’t got much to brag about.
August 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the second quarter in a preseason NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals at O.co Coliseum. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
DJ Hayden, a first round pick two years ago, isn’t living up to expectations and Justin Tuck and Curtis Lofton aren’t getting any younger. Furthermore, they lost Nate Allen to a torn MCL against the Benglas and Charles Woodson is also a little dinged up.
These problems on defense showed last week against the Bengals, as the Raiders gave up 33 points and 397 total yards of offense. They couldn’t stop the run or the pass. Del Rio is going to have to get a lot more from all of his players to reach the heights the Black Hole so desperately craves.
Hopefully the Ravens can take advantage of the Raiders weaknesses and bounce back from last week, a repeat of the two teams last meeting certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
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