TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 10: Oakland Raiders At Baltimore Ravens

Raiders
Ravens
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Oakland Raiders
Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
Quarterback
Carson Palmer is starting to hit his stride for the Raiders, and that means they are developing a fairly exciting passing game. Palmer was forced to go to the air 61 times against the Bucs and he threw for 414 yards while throwing 4 TD passes. Palmer would be better off if he had a complementary running game, but he proved he could stand in the pocket and take the abuse while making plays.
Winner Joe Flacco is a legitimate quarterback who wants to prove he belongs with the elite players at his position in the league. Flacco is coming off an ordinary game in the Ravens’ road win over Cleveland. While he did not light it up, he did not throw an interception and his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Torrey Smith was the difference in the game.
Offense
Running back Darren McFadden is probably the key to the Raiders offense because he runs hard every play. The Raiders took a big blow when McFadden had to come out of the game after seven carries with an ankle injury. While X-rays were negative, he may not be at his best against the Ravens. Wide receivers Denarius Moore and Darius Heyward-Bey are solid targets for Palmer.
Winner While the Ravens have solid receivers in Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, the offense is largely dependent on the play of Ray Rice. He’s one of the toughest and most dynamic running backs in the league. Boldin is a fine possession receiver while Smith can go downfield and make big plays.
Defense
The Raiders struggled against the Tampa Bay offense. The biggest issue was their inability to stop the run, as rookie Doug Martin punished them for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns. If they can get battered like that by Martin, how will they hang in there with Baltimore’s Rice. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour has to do a better job.
Winner The Ravens have several defensive issues, not the least of which is the absence of middle linebacker Ray Lewis. While that’s obviously a problem, some Ravens are stepping up. Keep your eye on young cornerback Cary Lewis who had an interception against the Browns and also led the Ravens with 6 tackles. Ed Reed once again had an interception and he has to be accounted for on every play.
Special Teams
Winner Sebastian Janikowski is not ready to give up his unofficial title of the kicker with the strongest leg just yet. He has made 19-of-20 field goal attempts this season. Shane Lechler averaged 54.5 yards on four punts against the Bucs.
The Ravens are hoping for steady play from steady play from special teams afterlast year’s nightmarish experience with placekicker Billy Cundiff. Head coach John Harbaugh is getting just what he needs as kicker Justin Tucker has made 15-of-16 field goal attempts this season.

The Winner Is

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
Winner Ravens
3 out of 4

This looks like it should be an easy game for the Ravens since they are playing at home against a team that struggles to scratch out its wins. However, Palmer is throwing the ball well and the Raiders have weapons. If the Ravens don’t play their best game, they could struggle and this game could be an upset possibility.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to throw a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to pass in the second half against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

    The Steelers and Patriots meet in Foxboro for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  2. ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the game at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

    Two MVP candidates at quarterback meet up in Atlanta for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  3. GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 8:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass in the second quarter during the NFC Wild Card game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
    Divisional Round Tale: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

    The Packers look to avenge a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Philly

Valentine’s Day Dinner For Two
GRAMMY’s Fly Away Trip To LA
Best 24 Hour Diners In Philadelphia

Listen Live