Scouting report for Ravens-Raiders game Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium

RAVENS PASSING GAME: Lamar Jackson attempted just 19 passes in his first career start, completing 13 and throwing an interception that briefly handed control of last Sunday’s game to the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson’s uneven accuracy and reluctance to throw downfield remain the greatest areas of concern in his game. But he’s vowed to target wide receivers Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead IV more regularly. Brown and Crabtree have caught just 14 passes between them over the past three games. The Ravens have fallen to 27th in the league in yards per attempt. Snead (five catches for 51 yards) and tight end Nick Boyle (four catches for 36 yards) were Jackson’s most regular targets against the Bengals.

RAIDERS PASSING GAME: Derek Carr has struggled to live up to his billing as a franchise quarterback. His statistics — 70.3 percent completion rate and 7.5 yards per attempt — are actually up from 2017. But the Raiders are 8-17 in games he’s started the past two years. The Raiders rank 17th in the league in passing yards per game and 13th in yards per attempt. They’re 25th in the league in third-down conversion percentage and 30th in red-zone scoring percentage. Tight end Jared Cook has been their most productive receiver, with 45 catches for 577 yards, and veteran Jordy Nelson is still a decent downfield threat, averaging 14.1 yards per catch.

EDGE: Raiders

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RAVENS RUNNING GAME: Jackson was a revelation here, carrying 26 times for 119 yards and steering a ground attack that more than doubled the team’s previous single-game high for rushing yards. Rookie running back Gus Edwards offered the perfect complement to Jackson, using his battering-ram style to gain 115 yards on 17 carries. With Edwards thriving, Alex Collins and Buck Allen received season-low workloads. The Ravens still rank third-worst in the league at 3.8 yards per carry, but they averaged 4.9 in Jackson’s first start as they controlled the ball for more than 38 of the game’s 60 minutes.

RAIDERS RUNNING GAME: The Raiders have been reasonably efficient, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, but they’re just 23rd in rushing yards per game. With Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve, they’ve gone with a committee of Jalen Richard, Doug Martin and DeAndre Washington. Those three combined for 152 yards in the Raiders’ win over the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday. Martin has been the most productive of the trio overall.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: The Ravens held Bengals running back Joe Mixon to 14 yards on 12 carries, easily a season-worst performance for the rising star. They hold opponents to the third-fewest rushing yards per game and the eighth-fewest yards per attempt. Interior linemen Michael Pierce, Brent Urban and Brandon Williams and linebacker C.J. Mosley remain the heart of their run defense.

RAIDERS RUSH DEFENSE: After the Ravens rushed for 265 yards against Cincinnati, they’ll face another porous defense Sunday. The Raiders allow the second-most rushing yards per game and the seventh-most yards per carry. Five opponents, including the Arizona Cardinals last week, have run for at least 150 yards against them.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey achieved their game plan against Cincinnati with tight, physical coverage that neutralized quarterback Andy Dalton’s quick-release approach. They’ll face a similar challenge this week, with Carr running the West Coast offense. Because of all the quick pass attempts, the Ravens’ sack totals have stagnated. But they will go against a weak pair of tackles in Brandon Parker and Kolton Miller (assuming Miller returns from a right knee injury). They rank second in the league in pass defense.

RAIDERS PASS DEFENSE: Oakland also struggles to stop opponents through the air, allowing 8.9 yards per attempt, second-most in the league. Cornerbacks Gareon Conley, Leon Hall and Rashaan Melvin all rank as poor to mediocre in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. The Raiders have sacked opposing quarterbacks just nine times in 10 games, worst in the league and just one better than the total for Khalil Mack, the star defender they traded before the season.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: Justin Tucker reminded us of his immense value with a 56-yard field goal just before halftime in the Ravens’ three-point victory over Cincinnati. He’s made 19 of 21 field-goal attempts on the season, including all four of his tries from 50 yards or more. Sam Koch has fallen to 15th in the league in net punting average but is tied for sixth with 21 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Since reclaiming his role as the team’s primary kickoff returner, Chris Moore has averaged a modest 20.7 yards on 10 runbacks.

RAIDERS SPECIAL TEAMS: The Raiders struggle here as well. They’ve cycled through three kickers this season. Their latest, Daniel Carlson, has made six of seven field-goal attempts. Johnny Townsend ranks second to last in the league in net punting average and tied for last on punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard-line. Dwayne Harris has averaged 11.1 yards on 14 punt returns.

EDGE: Ravens

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RAVENS INTANGIBLES: Jackson threw a jolt of excitement into the team and its fans as the Ravens won an essential game at home against the Bengals. A potential quarterback controversy looms between him and Joe Flacco, but that won’t be a factor this week. John Harbaugh and his team know they can’t afford a slip-up against an inferior opponent if they want to keep pace in the AFC wild-card race.

RAIDERS INTANGIBLES: The Raiders have had a nightmare season after essentially turning the franchise over to coach Jon Gruden. They traded their best player in Mack and have dealt with internal unrest over Carr’s ineffectiveness. The Raiders are coming off just their second win of the season, against the Cardinals, but everything about them suggests a team grasping for an identity.

EDGE: Ravens

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PREDICTION: Oakland’s soft run defense is ripe to be gouged by a Jackson-led running attack, and this Baltimore defense has feasted on struggling quarterbacks. The Ravens have generally handled their business against overmatched opponents over the past two seasons, and they’ll do so again in a win over the Raiders. Ravens, 27-13

childs.walker@baltsun.com

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