Optimism surrounding the start of the Oakland Raiders’ 2015 season took a sizable hit in Week 1 when Jack Del Rio's squad was blown out in front of their home fans. Seven days after losing by 20 points to the Cincinnati Bengals, it doesn’t get any easier when the Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens at O.co Coliseum on Sunday.
Baltimore blew an opportunity to steal a road win against the Denver Broncos in their opener, and they’re expected to come back with a victory in Week 2. The Ravens are seven point favorites, according to vegasinsider.com.
Both offenses struggled in Week 1, and the over/under for their Week 2 matchup is just 42 points. Oakland was forced to play their second-string quarterback for much of the game, and they only scored 13 points. Baltimore totaled 13 points, as well, but they didn’t score an offensive touchdown, and their 173 total yards rank dead last in the NFL.
Derek Carr's Status
The Raiders couldn’t muster up much offense under backup quarterback Matt McGloin against the Bengals, and fortunately it doesn’t look like Carr will be out much longer. Del Rio said the team received good news about their No.1 signal caller’s hand injury, and he won’t miss much time.
“He had a bruised hand and we think he’s going to be okay,” Del Rio told reporters. “[If] the quarterback can’t return, that’s not a good thing. He was up here in the office this morning, showing me how he can squeeze the ball and all that, so it was good news. I think we’re all relieved.”
With a few days remaining until the Raiders are set to play in Week 2, it’s unknown if Carr will be able to play. Oakland has been in contact with Christian Ponder, who was released by the team at the end of the preseason, but they don’t plan on adding a quarterback because they think there’s a good chance Carr will take the field. The Raiders could be in trouble if they have to start McGloin, who only threw for 142 yards on 31 pass attempts in relief of Carr.
Banged Up Oakland Secondary
Oakland’s defense was as bad as their offense in Week 1. They allowed Andy Dalton to throw for 269 yards and register a 115.9 passer rating, and the unit won’t be at full strength against Baltimore. Nate Allen left the Raiders’ opener with a knee injury, and Charles Woodson hurt his shoulder.
Better than expected news for #Raiders S Nate Allen: MRI showed a torn MCL & lots of swelling, out several weeks. Doesn’t appear ACL is torn
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2015
Agent Carl Poston told me #Raiders S Charles Woodson informed him he has a dislocated shoulder & he's unsure of recovery timetable as of now
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) September 15, 2015
The news might be positive for the long-term, but it looks like Oakland will be without both of their starting safeties against Baltimore, though Woodson reportedly wants to play on Sunday. Joe Flacco will likely put up much better numbers than the 117 yards and 38.2 passer rating he posted in the opener.
Baltimore's Defense Without Terrell Suggs
The Ravens made Peyton Manning look pedestrian in Week 1, limiting him to 175 yards on 40 attempts, and returning one of his passes for a touchdown. But the defense will have to play without the leader of their defense after linebacker Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles for the second time in four seasons.
"That's our leader. The motto here is next man up, and you're going to hear everybody saying that," linebacker Courtney Upshaw said. "But you never want to lose a guy like him. He's been a cornerstone for this defense for a long time."
Baltimore gave up just 219 yards of total offense to the Broncos, who scored more points than all but one team in 2014. Rookie linebacker Za’Darius Smith will likely be activated to replace Suggs in Week 2.
Baltimore should perform much better on the offensive end, especially since Oakland is hurting in the secondary. A healthy Carr would give the Raiders’ offense a boost, but the unit isn’t good enough to have a big day against the Ravens defense. Baltimore has beaten Oakland in 10 of their last 11 meetings.
Baltimore over Oakland, 27-13