It’s a stern test for the new-look Raiders even though the Ravens are dealing with major injuries.
#Ravens RB J.K Dobbins, RB Justice Hill and LB L.J. Fort are done for the season— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 9, 2021
1st rounder pick WR Rashod Bateman and WR Miles Boykin *currently* on IR.
OT Ja'Wuan James on the NFI-Reserve list.
And now it appears CB Marcus Peters and Gus Edwards tore their ACL
.Let’s look at five keys to victory for Las Vegas in the game:
Make the Ravens run:
The Ravens have been depleted at running back. They have lost J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill, and now, Gus Edwards, to major injuries. The Ravens still love to run, so they will probably have the same game plan. We could see a lot of former Raiders’ tailback Latavius Murray and fellow veteran Devonta Freeman, who both signed this week. This is a huge opportunity to set the tone defensively.
Harbaugh didn’t say what RBs definitely are playing Monday. But he did note that Bell is still getting his legs under him while Freeman and Murray are more game ready.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) September 10, 2021
Don’t let Lamar go crazy:
That’s easier said than done when it comes to Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, of course. But with injuries at running back and wide receiver, the importance of Jackson being the focal point of the Ravens’ offense (and the Raiders’ defense) is even greater. Jackson can take over games. The Raiders’ defense have allowed great players to do that on a regular basis in recent seasons. Keeping Jackson from slicing and dicing this defense is a huge task for new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Offensively, the Raiders’ success starts on their reworked offensive line. This unit, with new starters Andre James (center) rookie Alex Leatherwood (right tackle) and Denzelle Good (right guard) must show its up to the challenge early against a strong, tough Baltimore defensive front. If this unit lives up to the expectations of Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden, general manager Mike Mayock and offensive line coach Tom Cable, it could spark a Las Vegas upset (the Raiders are 4.5 point underdogs). If not, it could be a tough night.
Establish the run:
Gruden’s teams always have their best success on offense when they run the ball well as it sets up Derek Carr and the passing game. Fully expect the Raiders to test the Ravens’ cornerbacks with Marcus Peters injured. This could be a huge key.
How much will the Ravens miss CB Marcus Peters?— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) September 9, 2021
Since Peters joined the Ravens in Week 9 of 2019, Baltimore has ...
-Allowed the fewest yards per pass attempt (6.1)
-Tied for the fewest Pass TD allowed (31)
-Tied for the 2nd-lowest Total QBR allowed (49)
On the ground, the Raiders must extend drives and eat clock with Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber stuffing the ball down the Ravens’ throats. It won’t be easy, of course. The Ravens had the sixth best run in the NFL in 2020, allowing just 101.3 yards a game. If the Raiders can grind yards on the ground, it may be a formula to a Week 1 victory.
Get crowd into game early:
It’s going to be an emotional game for the franchise and its fans. This will be the first regular season game with fans at Allegiant Stadium and the fans are going to be fired up. The Raiders have to parlay that emotion with strong early play. The Raiders can feed off the fans and start fast it set the tone for the game. A fast Las Vegas start is also important considering that the Ravens have been Week 1 monsters lately. They have outscored their Week 1 opponents by a total of 164-19 in the past four years. The Raiders can’t let the Ravens get rolling early.