AFC Game Of The Week
Oakland Raiders (2-1) vs Baltimore Ravens (3-0)
Raiders: Let’s look at their first two wins. They go into the Superdome and outduel the Saints in a shootout and then just last week, they come back over to the same time zone and beat the Tennessee Titans. What impressed me with that win was their defense which had struggled the first two games to really stop anybody and they gave up a lot of big passing plays down the field. Looking back at the tape, you can tell the secondary definitely misses Charles Woodson back there because he was that guy that really kept everybody together in the back end of that defense. They’re off to one of their best starts in recent memory and I still think they have what it takes to become a playoff team. Derek Carr is a star and will be for years, Murray is a solid running back coming out the backfield, Amari Cooper can become a top five receiver in at most three years and defensively, Khalil Mack is the unquestioned leader of that defense but I think the best move the Raiders made was the hiring of Jack Del Rio as their head coach. For the third time this season, they have another road game, this time, it’s on the East Coast to face the Ravens.
Ravens: I really didn’t know what to expect from them coming into the season especially with how they looked last year but, they weren’t healthy. Suggs tore his Achilles, Steve Smith’s season ended early because of a torn Achilles, Flacco tore his ACL and Justin Forsett broke his arm. Last season was only the second time the Ravens missed the playoffs under John Harbaugh and that just goes to show you how good of a coach he’s been since taking the job in 2008. They’re off to a 3-0 start and what’s been impressive about it is they aren’t necessarily looking the greatest either. They’ve haven’t blown anyone out. Remember in week two, they were down 20-2 in Cleveland and they found a way to come back and win that and they could’ve easily lost last week in Jacksonville. With a win on Sunday, the Ravens will be 4-0 for the first time in a decade.
Raiders Player To Watch: Lee Smith– He’s a tight end that may never catch the football, but he’s very vital in their ground game with his blocking. He can help open up holes for Latavius Murray along with helping keep Derek Carr on his feet throughout the game.
Ravens Player To Watch: Jimmy Smith– He has the toughest task of the young season so far being matched up with Amari Cooper. The Ravens secondary has been awful for the last few seasons and Jimmy will need to be on it this Sunday.
Prediction: The Raiders have the second-best offense in the NFL right now and this will be one of the tougher defenses they’ve seen so far this year. I like Baltimore to keep rolling at home. Ravens 20 Raiders 17.