Baltimore Ravens look to rebound against the Oakland Raiders

The Baltimore Ravens (2-2) fall flat against the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) but can they rebound against the Oakland Raiders (2-2) without Derek Carr as the Ravens also make a few practice squad moves.

The Baltimore Ravens defense has not been the same without Brandon Williams and Brent Urban. So far, Williams has not returned to practice with a foot injury as the defense has given up 339 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns to the Jaguars and Steelers running backs. Willie Henry and Bronson Kaufusi have had their first starts in the past two weeks as the injuries have hampered the Ravens run defense significantly. If Williams is out for Week 5 against the Oakland Raiders, Marshawn Lynch could be more utilized as E.J. Manuel will start in place of Derek Carr, who is out with a transverse process back fracture for 2-4 weeks (according to Ian Rappaport).

The Baltimore Ravens offense struggled mightily against the Pittsburgh Steelers but the few bright spots include Alex Collins and Mike Wallace.

Oct 1, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins (34) runs with the ball in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Collins has been the one spark on offense that has been consistent ever since his promotion to the active roster in Week 2. In only 25 carries, Collins has rushed for a team-high 206 yards with 8.2 yards per carry but has 2 fumbles in 3 games. He has been the best running back on the Ravens and even though he has the fumbling issue, John Harbaugh said this week that they can fix the way he carries the ball to reduce the fumbles, according to Jeff Zrebiec. He has gotten a lot more snaps with each week then Terrance West and Javorius Allen and has a much better yards per carries in fewer carries.

The Baltimore Ravens passing game will have to take advantage this week against an Oakland Raiders secondary that can be thrown on.

Oct 1, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) catches a touchdown pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (21) in the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Wallace had a better game last week against the Steelers, catching 6 receptions for 55 yards and 1 touchdown. But Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman were almost nonexistent last week and Joe Flacco has to limit the turnovers if the Ravens want to win this week and moving forward. Flacco has to trust the protection when the offensive line does a decent enough job and make the throws needed to win the game. The offensive line has had trouble recently due to the loss of Marshal Yanda in Week 2 but at this point, better performances are needed from Matt Skura and Jermain Eluemenor and the whole offensive line in general as Flacco was sacked 4 times last week against the Steelers. The offensive line will have to protect Flacco better this week, especially against Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.

With E.J. Manuel starting this week to replace Derek Carr, who is out with a back injury, I think the Ravens defense can capitalize and cause more turnovers that they were lacking the last 2 losses.

Oct 1, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) cannot catch a pass while defended by the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens secondary will be very important in this game as they will have to restrict Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper and the outside. But both of them have not been playing as well the past 2 weeks as Cooper has been dealing with drop issues in general and Crabtree was out last week with a chest injury. With the Raiders not running the ball as much as I thought they would, this gives the Ravens a chance to focus on coverage as the Ravens run defense has been tested the last 2 weeks with Leonard Fournette and Le’Veon Bell. Marshawn Lynch is a veteran but he has not gotten the carries, especially late in games and if the Ravens can force some turnovers like their first 2 wins of the seasons, I think they can get a win in Oakland.

The Baltimore Ravens have also made a few practice squad moves prior to the Oakland Raiders game for Week 4.

The Ravens worked out DB Bennett Jackson on Monday and placed FB Ricky Ortiz on injured reserve from the practice squad. They also waived CB Josh Thornton and replaced him and Ortiz with signing TE Gabe Holmes and CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

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