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Mike Preston's key matchups for Ravens at Raiders

Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston picks three key matchups for the Ravens' game against the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday.

  • Raiders WR Amari Cooper vs. Ravens CBs Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb: Cooper, a rookie out of Alabama, is already a game changer even though Oakland struggles getting him the ball. Cooper had five receptions for 47 yards last week against the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener for both teams. Smith and Webb have to be physical against Cooper, who can be handled in press coverage. Smith and Webb played well last week against the Denver Broncos, but allowed receivers to get deep on them a couple of times. Edge: Ravens.
  • Raiders S Larry Asante and S Taylor Mays vs. Ravens QB Joe Flacco: At least Asante will start, and May probably will, because the Week 1 starters are injured. Mays just joined the team Tuesday, so the Raiders likely will be out of position several times. Flacco has to be able to read them and take advantage. It's the perfect time to put the long ball back in the offense. Edge: Ravens.
  • Raiders OLB Aldon Smith and DE Khalil Mack vs. Ravens offensive line: The Ravens allowed Flacco to be sacked twice and hit nine times last week against the Broncos. Smith played just 30 snaps last week, but will get more against the Ravens. Mack is relentless in pursuit anywhere on the field. Offensive tackles Rick Wagner, Eugene Monroe or James Hurst need to have big games for the Ravens. Edge: Raiders
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