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Raiders vs Ravens preview: What to watch for, storylines, match-ups, more

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The Raiders are hosting the Ravens Sunday in their week two match-up. Both teams lost their openers, though the Raiders were far less competitive in their loss to the Bengals than the Ravens were in their loss to the Broncos. That is to say the Raiders weren't competitive at all.

On top of losing badly to the Bengals, the Raiders suffered quite a few key injuries. Most notably to starting safeties Nate Allen and Charles Woodson. Allen was placed on partial season IR this week and Charles Woodson is questionable after two limited practices this week. Also not playing due to injury was defensive tackle Justin Ellis, defensive end Benson Mayowa, and fullback Jamize Olawale. Derek Carr injured his hand last week but he is expected to play.

Push the ball down field

Someone needed to check to see if Bill Musgrave didn't accidentally grab Greg Olson's playbook on his way out the door to the game last week. The dinking. The dunking. The punting. In total, the offense attempted just two passes to receivers 20 yards down field, and just three past 10 yards. Many of those short passes came on third downs well short of the marker. We all expected Derek Carr to be more confident this year with his downfield throws. He didn't look confident at all last week. That must change quickly.

TJ Carrie and co vs Steve Smith Sr and co

Carrie is by far the best defensive back on one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. Steve Smith is the only decent option at receiver on an otherwise pretty terrible wide receiver corps. If Carrie isn't shadowing Smith all game, the Raiders are making a mistake. Let the rest of them battle it out to see who can suck the least.

Left side open season

Eugene Monroe was not a great left tackle. But his replacement is far worse. Monroe is officially out for this game with a concussion and his replacement, James Hurst was downright terrible in relief. He gave up 7 QB hurries, 2 QB hits and a sack against the Broncos last week. Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith are smelling blood in the water for this one.

Austin Howard vs Elvis Dumervil

The Raiders have their own injury issue along the offensive line. Their happened in the preseason when Menelik Watson was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles. Replacing him is Austin Howard who was the worst offensive lineman among overall bad offensive line play. He gave up 3 hurries, one hit, and one sack. He also added a holding penalty that negated a 60-yard run.

Amari Cooper vs Jimmy Smith

The Raiders first round pick rookie will face the Ravens' former first round pick cornerback. Smith is the best corner on the Ravens' roster. Both players will be tested by the other in this one. It should be fun to watch.

Blitzkrieg

According to AP stats, the Raiders didn't blitz once last week against the Bengals. As a result, Andy Dalton lit them up in the passing game. Joe Flacco went 0-7 against the blitz against the Broncos in their season opener with two interceptions and a sack. This is like the most simple game of Tetris ever. Blitz. Often.

Run. The. Ball.

Latavius Murray averaged 4.0 yards per carry last week. Unfortunately he was given the ball just 11 times. In total, there were 15 designed runs. Meanwhile, Derek Carr and Matt McGloin dropped back to pass 48 times. That formula is not going to fly. Jack Del Rio and Bill Musgrave insist they will run the ball more. That's probably a good idea.

Rodney Hudson vs Brandon Williams

Hudson did not have a good Raiders debut last week. He gave up several run stops along with a sack and two penalties. Williams was a wall at nose tackle for the Ravens last week. He closed down the middle with 5 stops. With the Raiders claiming they will focus more on the run, it will be up to Hudson to win the battles in the middle to open run lanes.

Latavius Murray vs CJ Mosley

Mosley came on strong for the Ravens as a rookie last season. He received more votes for Rookie of the Year than Khalil Mack did. And while that's just plain laughable, Mosley is still a damn fine middle linebacker. He will be tasked with stopping any runs that get through the line.

Another Ravens rookie defensive stud?

Carl Davis was chosen by the Ravens with the 90th pick in the draft and in his first game, he was dominant. After watching the Broncos offensive line get destroyed against the Chiefs on Thursday night, Davis' performance may have just been a product of inferior blocking. Either way, he took advantage of his opportunities and the Raiders will need to make sure he doesn't have a repeat performance.