Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders: X-Factors


Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) carries the ball in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens lost a tight one in Week 1 to the Denver Broncos, but they appear to be in line for an easier matchup in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders. After dropping their season openers, both teams feel as though this game is a must-win situation. In order to come out victorious, there a players in each locker room who will be key to their team’s success. Let’s take a look at who must come up big for their teams on Sunday.

Ravens Offense vs. Raiders Defense

Ravens Offense: RB Justin Forsett

After a breakout season in 2014, the Pro Bowler had a slow start to the 2015 season. Against the Broncos, Forsett carried the ball just 14 times and ran for 43 yards, averaging a measly 3 yards per carry. Granted, Denver has an elite defensive unit, so we can take that for what it’s worth. But this week, he has to perform. It starts up front with the offensive line, but Forsett will need to make some big plays in order for the offense to get it going against a fairly soft Raiders defense.

Raiders Defense: OLB Aldon Smith

September 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Aldon Smith (99) looks to the sideline against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore’s offensive line was touted as one of the league’s top units coming into the season, but it didn’t appear that way last Sunday. Joe Flacco took a number of hit against the Broncos, ultimately leading to him making some mistakes. Smith has been granted a fresh start in Oakland and his skill set could give the Ravens’ young offensive tackles some fits this week. If he and the rest of the Raiders’ pass-rushers can get after Flacco, they may have a shot to win this game.

Raiders Offense vs. Ravens Defense

Raiders Offense: QB Derek Carr 

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Carr’s status for Sunday’s game was up in the air, but it now looks like the second-year quarterback will start. You know the Ravens are going to get after him, but Carr must be up to the challenge. If he doesn’t play well, the Raiders don’t stand a chance. If he can get in a little bit of a rhythm, maybe he can build some confidence moving forward.

Ravens Defense: OLB Elvis Dumervil

Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (58) during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

With Terrell Suggs out for the season, the attention turns to the other All-Pro. Dumervil set some lofty goals for himself this season and in order to achieve them, he’ll need to turn up the pressure. He must rise to the occasion as a defensive leader in Suggs’ absence. If given one-on-one opportunities, Dumervil has to take advantage and fluster the young quarterback.

Next: Ravens' Keys to Victory vs. Raiders

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