The Oakland Raiders are 3-5 and in despeate need of a win to keep their playoff hope alive. The Baltimore Ravens are 6-2 and in desperate need of a win to try and win homefield advantage in the playoffs. Two teams needing a win for opposite reasons, so where does each team have the edge in this match-up?
Quarterback: These are two quarterbacks whose stats are not as good as they would like. Carson Palmer has thrown for a boatload of yards, but also has a lot of turnovers. Joe Flacco hasn’t thrown for as many yards, but his interception total is also higher than it should be. Advantage: Baltimore
Running Back: A dinged up Darren McFadden certainly isn’t better than Ray Rice, but is a healthy Taiwan Jones? Advantage: Baltimore
Wide Receiver and Tight End: Unless all of Oakland’s receivers turn into Brandon Myers-like replicas, Anquan Boldin and the Baltimore receivers are tough to match. Advantage: Baltimore
Offensive Line: For some reason 19 sacks doesn’t sound great, but then again 14 doesn’t sound good either. Let’s just go with the smaller number. Advantage: Oakland
Defensive Line: After last week’s performance, why have any faith in the Raiders’ defensive line, it also doesn’t help the Ravens have a guy like Haloti Ngata. Advantage: Baltimore
Linebackers: Ray Lewis wasn’t the entire linebacking corps for Baltimore and there will be plenty of people to fill his spot. Meanwhile in Oakland, the Raiders are searching for their version of Lewis. Advantage: Baltimore
Secondary: Ed Reed single handedly wins this category and he may one of the few defensive backs who could fix . Advantage: Baltimore
Specialists: The only saving grace for the Raiders is their incredible specialists, but that doesn’t mean one unit can lead a team to victory. Advantage: Oakland
Coach: People are already asking for Dennis Allen‘s head just eight games into the season. Meanwhile, everyone in Charm City is loving John Harbaugh and the job he’s done with the Ravens. Advantage: Baltimore
Games might not be won on paper, but that doesn’t mean the paper isn’t correct.