Scouting Report

The Pick Ravens 31-10

October 26, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY

Ravens run offense vs. Raiders run defense: : Willis McGahee is looking for his first back-to-back 100-yard games since November 2004. The Raiders have allowed running backs to gain more than 100 yards in two of their past three games, including 159 yards to the Jets' Thomas Jones last Sunday. Oakland has given up nine rushing touchdowns, which is tied for fifth-most in the NFL. In three home games, the Ravens' average time of possession has been 36 minutes, 10 seconds - a 12-minute edge. For the second straight game, the Ravens' right side of the line will be guard Chris Chester and tackle Willie Anderson. Edge: RAVENS:

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Ravens pass offense vs. Raiders pass defense: : The Ravens' top three receivers are questionable - Derrick Mason (illness), Mark Clayton (thigh) and Demetrius Williams (ankle) - and their No. 4 option, Yamon Figurs, is doubtful with a knee injury. Mason should start, along with either Clayton or Williams. But rookies Ernie Wheelwright and Marcus Smith could receive extended playing time. The Raiders could be without their top pass rusher, Derrick Burgess (doubtful, triceps injury). That would help Joe Flacco, who has thrown two touchdown passes and seven interceptions. In two of the past three games, the leading receiver against Oakland has been the tight end. Could this be the breakout game for Todd Heap? Edge: EVEN:

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Raiders run offense vs. Ravens run defense: : With RBs Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden, the Raiders have the NFL's fifth-ranked ground attack. But Fargas is gaining only 3.8 yards per carry this season, and McFadden (who is questionable with a toe injury) has averaged just 32.7 yards his past four games. Ravens LB Ray Lewis is averaging 9.8 tackles for the top-ranked run defense. The Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 25 straight games, the longest current streak in the NFL. In fact, the Ravens have given up 100-yard games to just two running backs in their past 42 games. Edge: RAVENS:

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Raiders pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense: : Chris McAlister likely will be benched for a second straight game. With the other regular starting cornerback, Samari Rolle, out with a neck injury, the Ravens will go with backups Fabian Washington and Frank Walker. The Ravens have only three sacks in their past three games, and they will look to break out of that rut against pocket passer JaMarcus Russell. Other than TE Zach Miller (18 receptions), no Raider has more than 10 catches this season. In their past two home games, the Ravens have five interceptions. Edge: RAVENS:

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Special teams: : Both punters - the Ravens' Sam Koch and the Raiders' Shane Lechler - rank in the NFL's top four in net punting average. Ravens K Matt Stover has converted three straight field goals, including a season-long 47-yarder last Sunday. Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski is 13-for-17 this season, hitting from 56 and 57 yards. With Figurs doubtful, the Ravens will use Ray Rice on kickoff returns and Jim Leonhard on punts. Rookie Tom Zbikowski leads the Ravens with 10 special teams tackles. Edge: EVEN:

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Intangibles:: There have been some weeklong distractions, from McAlister's benching to Terrell Suggs' "bounty" remarks. But the Ravens are 48-19 at home since 2000, which is tied for the third-best mark during that span. The Raiders have been one of the worst road teams the past three seasons, losing 19 of their past 22 games away from home. Oakland hasn't won at an AFC North stadium since 2002, losing five straight times by an average of 13.6 points. Edge: RAVENS:

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Prediction: : Even with all the talk about bounties, the Ravens' defense won't be distracted. Suggs and teammates will be mad. The Ravens will have to wait for Hines Ward, but they'll take out the Raiders with ease.

RAVENS, 31-10:

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