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Raiders vs. Ravens: Buying and Selling

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Officially desperate to get back on track, which players might Oakland be counting on when Baltimore comes to town on Sunday?

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to imagine there’s another team as desperately in need of a win as the Raiders are, and yet, the Baltimore Ravens just might be. Like the Raiders, the Ravens opened the season 2-0 and have lost two in a row since — but the similarities don’t end there.

Both teams are currently on a dreadful offensive stretch — with the Raiders having scored 20 points in their past two games, while the Ravens have scored just 16. The Raiders have run for just 56 yards in those games, while the Ravens have thrown for just 300 yards.

So, what gives this week?

BUYING

Alex Collins

In his last two games, Collins has exactly the same rushing stats: 9 carries, 82 yards. Last week, the Raiders allowed 143 rushing yards to Denver (plus 5 catches for 31 yards). This is a big test for the Oakland front seven given the impotence of the Baltimore passing attack in recent weeks — if they can shut Collins down, it will go a long way towards breaking this losing streak.

Marshawn Lynch

It has been a dreadful two weeks (as we mentioned above), but the slump ends Sunday. In the past two weeks, Baltimore has allowed 166 yards and 173 yards on the ground to Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. With Derek Carr’s health in question, expect Beast Mode to shoulder the load on Sunday and give the Raiders all that they need on the ground.

Cordarrelle Patterson

Someone needs to step up outside for the Raiders, and as Patterson gets more and more comfortable within the offense, he seems like a good bet to be that guy. The Raiders need someone that can make a big play — and Seth Roberts isn’t that guy — so look for Patterson to give Oakland the fireworks they need this week. (It also helps that he catches everything thrown his way — as he reeled in all six passes thrown at him last week)

Khalil Mack

He’s trying to do it all by himself (and he’s doing a pretty damn good job at it too). If anything, it’s encouraging to know this guy is going to give 150% even when it doesn’t seem like anyone around him is.

SELLING

Amari Cooper

I’m just about done with Cooper here. He was a high draft pick, yes, but he has never even come close to living up to that hype. Yes, he made the Pro Bowl twice — but that had more to do with reputation and health than anything else. For his career, Cooper averages less than 65 yards per game — yes, if you play 16 games that will get you to 1,000 yards on a season, but on a per-game basis that’s far less than the Raiders need. (Also, for what it’s worth, Cooper has yet to eclipse 65 yards per game all season).

Think about this: in 36 career games, Cooper has had less than 50 receiving yards seventeen times — and he hasn’t gone over 100 yards in his last 12 games dating all the way back to October 2016. Then add in the fact that he leads the league in drops (a stat he tied for second in as a rookie), and, well, yeah. SELL THE CRAP OUT OF HIM.

Amari Cooper

Because I wasn’t finished yet...

If you were a quarterback, and you saw the effort Cooper gave you on the final Oakland pass of the game, would you keep throwing his way? You’re 6’1” and 210 pounds and you get out-jumped and out-muscled by a DB on a 50-50 ball? PLEASE.

Joe Flacco

Flacc-Daddy is having a rough go of it lately, and while the Oakland defense has been kind to opposing quarterbacks, that will end this week. Flacco is 39/67 for 263 yards, 1 TD and 4 INT over his past two games — if that’s not a recipe for getting a defense kick-started, I’m not sure what is.