The Baltimore Ravens will travel to the West coast to play the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at 4:05pm. Both teams have identical records: two back-to-back wins and two back-to-back losses.
The Ravens will be dealing with jag lag due to the time zone difference. The travel to London was 7 to 7.5 hours and the trip to California was about six hours. After their embarrassing loss in London, hopefully this team learned how to deal with time zone differences.
The Oakland Raiders are dealing with their own problems. Quarterback Derek Carr is suffering with a back injury. According to Bleacherreport.com, Carr is expected to return in Week 6. He suffered the injury last week against the Denver Broncos and is listed as questionable on the injury report.
The Ravens need to step up their offensive. Marshal Yanda was a significant part of this offensive line so his absence is a blow. Matt Skura, Ronnie Stanley, Ryan Jensen, James Hurst and Austin Howard need to improve. They need to be able to contain their blocks and protect the quarterback better.
- Flacco has the longest streak in the NFL for throwing at least one interception in the last 10 games. He has been off his game. He missed training camp and the preseason due to a back injury. Last season, he recovered from a knee injury. With his offensive line, Flacco needs to become more mobile in order to save the ball. If he can’t find an open receiver, he needs to become a receiver to move his team downfield.
- The wide receivers have been a non-factor in many of the games. Mike Wallace, Breshad Periman and Jeremy Maclin need to make more big plays by running better routes to shake their defensive backs. They must also hold onto the ball.
- The spark in offense is running back Alex Collins. He runs with quickness, power and attitude. I am hoping the team will use this player to his fullest potential.
Defense has been a big disappointment in the last two games. If you look at the first two games and look at the last two games, you would think these players are on two different teams! One interception in the last two games, compared to eight interceptions in the first two games. Brandon Williams has been out on injury and that is a blow to the defense. Willie Henry, Carl Davis and Michael Pierce have been holding their own, but they are not Williams. The secondary has been missing blocks; the linebackers are missing the receivers running on the outside.
The entire team seems out-of-sync. They are currently in second place in the division behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. Injuries have crippled this team. The second-string players are having trouble maintaining. This team needs a spark and needs one fast.