Week 10 of the 2012 NFL season has already begun with this past Thursday Night's "game", but the real action begins tomorrow as the Baltimore Ravens host the Oakland Raiders at 1 pm in M&T Bank Stadium. As in any game in the NFL there are some key matchups to watch for when the Ravens and Raiders square off.
- Ravens Secondary vs Carson Palmer: Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer has been known as a Ravens killer through his career with the Bengals as he is 9-4 against Baltimore. The Ravens secondary is going to be in the spotlight tomorrow, with Oakland missing their top two running backs, we expect Oakland to throw it all over the field Sunday. Palmer has shown he has no problem firing at will as he is coming off of a game in which he was 39-61 on pass attempts with 414 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw three interceptions. Keep an eye on Cary Williams this week, I smell a multi-interception game coming.
- Ray Rice vs Oakland defense: Ray Rice may have been licking his chops all week after watching Tampa Bay's rookie running back Doug Martin run for 251 yards and four touchdowns against an Oakland defense that allows the fourth most points per game in the NFL. As long as Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron does not abandon the run, Rice should have a huge day.
- Ravens linebackers vs Marcel Reece: Oakland fullback Marcel Reece is not your prototypical fullback, yes he is a good run blocker, but he can catch the football. Reece only has one carry this season, but last week he caught eight passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and could cause matchup problems for the Ravens. The Raiders did not all of the sudden start doing this last week, Reece has caught 26 passes for 272 yards this season. Baltimore's linebackers will have to find a way to keep Reece in their sights at all times or he could come away with the same type of performance as last week.
- Ravens tight ends vs Raiders linebackers: The strong point of Oakland's defense thus far has been the play of their linebackers, as they make tackles and cover tight ends pretty well, and Baltimore's tight ends have for the most part been missing in action since the first few weeks of the season when Dennis Pitta seemed to be Joe Flacco's favorite target. Ed Dickson and Pitta will need to step up to open up the passing game in the middle of the field, as opposing defenses are focusing on the outside when it comes to defending Baltimore's passing offense.
It has been almost a month since the Ravens last home, so there is no question that the crowd will make it quite the hostile environment for Oakland. Baltimore will be looking to improve to 7-2 on the season and retain the lead in the AFC North over the Pittsburgh Steelers before traveling to Pittsburgh next week.
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