Ravens vs. Raiders: 3 key matchups to watch in Week 1
By Justin Fried
3. Ravens pass rush vs. Raiders new-look offensive line
Both the Ravens pass rush and the Raiders offensive line look vastly different than the units that were rolled out a year ago.
But both revamped position groups will be key for their respective teams in Week 1.
The Ravens lost Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue (to the Raiders) in the offseason leaving a group featuring Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee, Justin Houston, Odafe Oweh, and others to pick up where they left off.
Meanwhile, the Raiders traded away Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Trent Brown leaving them with a questionable offensive line going into the 2021 season.
To make matters worse, left guard Richie Incognito is not expected to play meaning that 2020 fourth-round pick John Simpson could start in his place. Throw in other weak pieces such as Andre James and Denzelle Good and the Ravens pass rush could have a big day.
The Raiders’ interior offensive line is especially vulnerable meaning that it could be a big day for players like Calais Campbell or even Justin Madubuike, assuming Derek Wolfe is out.
If Baltimore can get consistent pressure on Derek Carr, they might be able to force him into a few mistakes. That’s particularly important given that the Ravens won’t only be without Marcus Peters, but that they’ll be missing Jimmy Smith as well.
The Ravens need to show they can pressure opposing offenses with their new-look front-seven, especially with their league-high blitz rate. Week 1 presents them with an ideal opportunity to do so.