1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Raiders

1st and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Raiders
November 11, 2012, 2:30 am
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1. The Ravens will run more than they pass.

This formula worked last week against the Browns, with the Ravens committing to the running game and taking occasional shots downfield. Last week the Ravens ran the ball on 37 plays and passed it on 24 (plus one sack). This week, they face a Raiders defense that ranks 21st against the run, and the Ravens would be wise to keep the ball in the hands of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.

2. Ray Rice will rush for 100 yards.

Rice has to be salivating after watching Tampa Bay's Doug Martin rush for 251 yards against Oakland last week. Rice and others, though, attribute that to poor tackling, and no one expects the yardage to be that easy to come by. Still, Rice should get plenty of work, and against a defensive front missing Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour (hamstring), the yardage should pile up.

3. A Ravens tight end will catch a touchdown pass.

Ed Dickson has been something of a vanishing act this season, with just 10 catches for 85 yards, which translates to 20 catches for 170 yards for the season. Last year, Dickson finished with 54 catches for 528 yards. Count on both Dickson and Dennis Pitta (32-309 so far this year) being a bigger part of the offense in the second half of the season.

 4. Joe Flacco will complete at least 60 percent of his passes.

In four home games this season, Flacco has thrown seven touchdown passes, has a .671 completion percentage and has a QB rating of 106.6. In four road games, he has thrown three touchdown passes, has a completion percentage of .522 and has a rating of 62.7. Home cooking agrees with him, and for the most part he will be on target.

5. Carson Palmer will throw at least 40 passes.

Palmer set a career high with 61 passes against Tampa Bay last week. He won't reach 60 again, but with the Raiders down to their No. 3 running back, Palmer and the Raiders' fleet-footed receivers are their best offensive options. They will try to run on this Ravens defense, but in the end, Palmer with throw the ball around a lot.

6. The Raiders will not rush for 100 yards.

The Ravens run defense has been gashed at times this season, but this week they face the 31st-ranked run offense (77.3 yards a game) that is missing its top two backs. Taiwan Jones, the expected starting running back, has one carry for 2 yards this season.

7. The Ravens will have at least two sacks.

Palmer will be back throwing the ball a lot for the Raiders, and he isn't going to do a lot of scrambling. The Raiders offensive line has allowed 14 sacks this season, the eighth-fewest in the league, but Terrell Suggs is going to energize the pass rush while playing his first home game of the season.

8. There will be a 50-plus yard field goal made.

This game features one of the NFL's best veteran kickers in Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski and one of its best rookie kickers in the Ravens' Justin Tucker. Janikowski has made 36 kicks in his career from 50-plus, and Tucker is 4-for-4 from that distance. Neither team will hesitate to try from long range, and if conditions are right, there could be a 60-yarder.

9. The Raiders will have a pass play of at least 30 yards.

Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees has stressed the Raiders' speed all week, and receviers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore are the Raiders' best offensive weapons, especially with their top two backs out. The Ravens cornerbacks have had trouble with double moves and deep routes, and Carson Palmer will take deep shots.

10. Ravens 36, Raiders 23

The Ravens own the NFL's longest home winning streak (14), and the Raiders would have a tough time winning in Baltimore even when healthy. But they are not, and this banged-up Raiders team is just what the Ravens need before they begin a grueling six-week stretch. The Ravens improve to 7-2 with a trip to Pittsburgh looming large next week.