Scouting Report

November 08, 1998|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Raiders run defense

If the Ravens are to gain any yards, it will have to be on quick hitters and power plays. The Raiders have an aggressive defense and tackles Russell Maryland and Darrell Rusell may be a little too athletic for guards Jeff Blackshear and Ben Cavil. Ravens tackles Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Brown should be able to move ends James Harris and Lance Johnstone off the ball, but the Ravens need a good day from fullback Roosevelt Potts. -- EDGE -- RAIDERS

Ravens pass offense vs. Raiders pass defense

The Raiders have two good and aggressive cornerbacks in Charles Woodson and Eric Allen, but they also like to take chances, which means the Ravens could get a few big plays. The Ravens might have to use receiver Michael Jackson as more than a decoy today. -- EDGE -- RAIDERS

Raiders run offense vs. Ravens run defense

Napoleon Kaufman is one of the league's most underrated running backs, and one of the quickest. If he finds a rhythm early, this could be a long day for the Ravens. But if defensive tackles Tony Siragusa and James Jones play their normal steady games inside, and middle linebacker Ray Lewis steps it up after a mediocre game last week, the Ravens should have no problems stopping the Raiders' ground game. -- EDGE -- RAVENS

Raiders pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

Oakland's pass offense is as vanilla as it comes, but the Raiders have an abundance of speed in receivers James Jett and Tim Brown. Rookie cornerback Duane Starks will get a lot of action in his first start, and if the Raiders are smart, they'll throw on first down to take advantage of the slow Ravens safeties instead of throwing on third down when the Ravens can insert their nickel package. -- EDGE -- EVEN

Special teams

The Ravens have a better average on punt returns (15.4 compared to 9.1) and both teams are averaging 20.7 yards per kickoff return. The Ravens' special teams, though, find a way to give up a touchdown every week, through penalties, botched snaps, blocked punts, etc. -- EDGE -- RAIDERS

Key matchup

Starks vs. Jett. It doesn't make a difference who is playing right cornerback; he is going to get picked on because Woodson is on the other side. Starks will eventually be a good cornerback in this league, but Jett can take advantage of his inexperience with that blazing speed. Starks has to keep his mistakes to a minimum and not panic if he gives up a home run ball. -- EDGE -- RAIDERS

Intangibles

The Raiders are in a must-win situation because they have Seattle and Denver the next two weeks. If they can pull this one out, they'll be 7-2 with quarterback Jeff George healthy by next week. The Ravens have lost four in a row and were embarrassed last week against Jacksonville at home. The Ravens are also 1-3 at home, and maybe they feel they owe their fans something. -- EDGE -- RAVENS

Prediction

Until the Ravens prove otherwise, take their opponent. Raiders, 19-13. -- EDGE -- RAIDERS

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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