A look at the offense, defense, special teams and intangibles ahead of the Ravens' game in Oakland against the Raiders.
RAVENS: The Ravens have much to fix here after a horrendous performance in Marc Trestman's debut as offensive coordinator. They have to get better protection from tackles James Hurst and Rick Wagner. The receivers have to get open downfield. And quarterback Joe Flacco needs to make better and quicker decisions. The Ravens' 100 net passing yards against the Denver Broncos were the fewest in the league last week. Flacco averaged just 6.5 yards per completion. The only way to go is up.
RAIDERS: With quarterback Derek Carr coming off a promising rookie year, the signing of Michael Crabtree and the drafting of the dynamic Amari Cooper, there was a lot of optimism about Oakland's passing attack. But it was nonexistent against the Cincinnati Bengals last week. Carr and his backup, Matt McGloin, completed just two passes beyond 10 yards. Carr is expected to play with a sprained thumb. He needs better blocking from Austin Howard and J'Marcus Webb, who played poorly last week. EDGE: RAVENS
RAVENS:Another disappointing aspect of their season-opening loss, the Ravens gained 73 rushing yards and averaged 3.2 yards per carry. Before Justin Forsett's late 20-yard run, he had rushed for 23 yards on 13 carries. Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that the offensive line not playing together much during the preseason probably affected the production. The potential return of Lorenzo Taliaferro could give the Ravens a boost, especially in short-yardage situations.
RAIDERS: Latavius Murray was a revelation last year, gaining 424 yards and averaging 5.2 yards a carry in the Raiders' final six games. Murray, who has high-end speed, gained 44 yards on 11 carries last week, and also caught seven passes for 36 yards. His fullback, Marcel Reece, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He's their lead blocker, goal-line back and one of their top receivers. Reece caught both of their touchdowns last week. The Raiders have vowed to stay patient with their running game Sunday. EDGE: RAVENS
RAVENS: There was no early drop-off from last year with this group, even with Haloti Ngata gone and his expected replacement, Timmy Jernigan, sidelined with a knee injury. The Ravens held the Broncos to 69 rushing yards and held the Broncos to 2.8 yards per carry, uncharacteristic of a Gary Kubiak offense. Nose tackle Brandon Williams was dominant at times, making seven tackles and keeping blockers off Daryl Smith and C.J. Mosley, who combined for 11 stops. The Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 27 straight games.
RAIDERS: What was a below-average rush defense last season didn't look much improved last week when Oakland allowed 127 yards and two rushing touchdowns to Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Seven teams surrendered more rushing yards in Week 1. Khalil Mack is very strong against the run and Dan Williams and Stacy McGee are the two space eaters inside. Inside linebacker Malcolm Smith, the former Super Bowl MVP with the Seattle Seahawks, had 10 tackles last week. This group will be tested. EDGE: RAVENS
RAVENS: The Ravens will know more in the coming weeks if the strong performance of their secondary in Week 1 was more of an indictment of Peyton Manning's arm strength or because of the group's improvement. Either way, holding Manning and the Broncos to 150 net passing yards should give the Ravens a nice confidence boost. With Terrell Suggs out, Elvis Dumervil and Courtney Upshaw should get more snaps, and rookie Za'Darius Smith and 12th-year pass rusher Jason Babin likely will make their Ravens debuts.
RAIDERS: The recent addition of talented-but-troubled Aldon Smith gives the Raiders another dangerous pass-rushing threat. Smith played 29 snaps last Sunday despite being signed that week. Justin Tuck is the veteran of the group, but Mack is the undisputed star. The 2014 first-round draft pick had 84 tackles and four sacks as a rookie. Despite their plethora of pass rushers, the Raiders had no sacks last week. Both starting safeties — Charles Woodson and Nate Allen — could be sidelined Sunday. EDGE: EVEN
RAVENS: Jerry Rosburg's group got off to a great start last week. Sam Koch averaged 51.7 yards on his six punts. Justin Tucker made both of his field-goal attempts, including one from 52 yards. Steve Smith Sr. averaged 16 yards on his two punt returns. The Ravens nearly blocked three different kicks and their coverage units held Emmanuel Sanders in check. It will be interesting to see if Harbaugh sticks with Smith on punt returns or turns duties over to Michael Campanaro.
RAIDERS: Like the Ravens, the Raiders have a productive kicking battery. Sebastian Janikowski is second all-time among kickers with 48 field goals over 50 yards. Marquette King led the league in gross punting average as a rookie and led the league in punting yards and punts inside the 20 last year. Snapper Jon Condo (Maryland) is in his ninth NFL season. Taiwan Jones and T.J. Carrie handle return duties for the Raiders. EDGE: EVEN
RAVENS: It's been a difficult week for the Ravens, who've had to move on from a tough loss to the Broncos and the season-ending injury to the team's most vocal leader, all while practicing far from home. By all accounts, Harbaugh's group has handled it well and seems to understand the importance of this week's game. The Ravens have never started 0-2 under Harbaugh. The Ravens were called for just three penalties last week against Denver, a positive early sign.
RAIDERS: New coach Jack Del Rio brought excitement and some toughness to a Raiders team that went 3-13 last season and hasn't had a winning record since 2002. Last week, however, was a brutal start. The Raiders were manhandled by the Bengals, who led 33-0 at one point. Oakland faltered in all facets, not even getting past midfield on offense until the first play of the fourth quarter. Injuries haven't helped. Starting 0-2 with two home losses would be a huge disappointment. EDGE: RAVENS
With the offense trying to find its footing and the defense without one of their leaders and most consistent performers, I wouldn't expect anything to come easy for the Ravens. The Raiders are a better team than what they showed last week against Cincinnati, but they are still banged up at some key spots and thin talent-wise at others. And this type of situation — coming off a tough loss, dealing with a major injury and on the road — is where the Ravens have traditionally showed their mettle. They'll find a way again, doing just enough offensively to avoid a disastrous 0-2 start. Ravens, 20-16