SPECIAL TEAMS: The Ravens continued their special teams success as their coverage teams controlled the dangerous Joshua Cribbs and rookie Justin Tucker hit a clutch 43-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to make it a two-score game. Jacoby Jones is second in the league in kickoff return average (33.5 yards) and he had a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Raiders in 2009. Tucker is 15-of-16 on the season and is sixth in the NFL with 27 touchbacks.
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M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St, Baltimore, MD 21230, USA
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Raiders boast of arguably the best kicking duo in the NFL. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski is 19-for-20 on field-goal attempts this season and he's hit 47 consecutive field goals from 40 yards or less. Punter Shane Lechler is a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL's all-time leader in gross average per punt. Long snapper Jon Condo (Maryland) is also a two-time Pro Bowler. The Raiders haven't generated much in the return game though their kickoff coverage has been strong.
INTANGIBLES: The Ravens haven't loss at home since December 2010 and during their NFL-best 14-game home winning streak, they've outscored the opposition 391-238. At home, the Ravens have committed only two turnovers in four games and their plus-seven turnover ratio is the seventh best in the NFL. The Ravens are the second most penalized team in the league. They are 5-1 all-time against the Raiders, including a 4-0 record in Baltimore.
INTANGIBLES: Oakland was feeling pretty good about itself until it allowed 42 points on its home field to the Buccaneers last week. The Raiders are 1-3 on the road this season and they've been outscored 95-39 in those three losses. The Raiders also continue to be hit hard by injuries with their latest health issues significantly weakening their running back corps. The team has been reasonably disciplined under first-year head coach Dennis Allen.
PREDICTION: With two games against their hated rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, over the next three weeks, the Ravens cannot afford to slip up at home against a team that it should handle. I can't see it happening here. Palmer isn't fazed by the Ravens and the Raiders' speed probably will give the secondary some problems. However, the Ravens' offense is due for a breakout as well. Flacco will rediscover the touch on the deep ball, Rice will find some room to run and a defense will force a few turnovers en route to a relatively drama-free victory.
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