Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
The Ravens have more than enough firepower to beat the struggling Raiders at home.
Baltimore comes into the contest leading the AFC North by one game with a 6-2 mark. Head coach John Harbaugh has his team playing well once again, looking like one of the conference's Super Bowl contenders.
On the other sideline, first-year coach Dennis Allen has been making strides with his inconsistent team in Oakland. Allen doesn't have near the talent to work with, but has kept the Raiders respectable with a handful of good performances.
Meet the Baltimore Ravens
This is no longer your father's Ravens. Long known for a shoddy offense but an incredible defense, Baltimore has completely flipped the script this season. With Terrell Suggs only recently back, and Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb out for the year, the Ravens are very suspect on the defensive side of the ball.
Luckily for them, the offense has made strides with Joe Flacco and Ray Rice leading the way. Flacco hasn't been incredible, but good enough to keep the chains moving with the occasional deep ball to Torrey Smith mixed in.
The Delware product has thrown for 1,990 yards and 10 touchdowns, compared to only six interceptions. Flacco is finally limiting his mistakes and keeping the offense on schedule.
Rice has just continued what has already been a great career. The diminutive back has gained 622 yards on 4.7 yards per carry to accompany six touchdowns.
Meet the Oakland Raiders
Oakland has been tough to peg in 2012, with the ability to win or lose a game to anyone in the league.
Carson Palmer has been steady for the Raiders, but certainly not spectacular. The veteran is likely winding down his days n the Bay Area, which has to be a disappointment considering the haul Oakland gave up to get him.
Things will only get tougher on Sunday with Darren McFadden out with a sprained ankle. The ex-Arkansas star has flashed immense ability, but always seems to be injured with various ailments.
This year, McFadden has churned for just 455 yards and a putrid 3.3 yards per carry. Most people think of Oakland as a running team, but in reailty they rank 31st in the league with under 80 yards on the ground per game.
On defense, the team is equally mediocre against the run and pass, ranking 21st against both. It's been another rough year for the Raiders, who just can't seem to regain their glory days of the past.
Local Takes: Baltimore Ravens
He most definitely has the physical skills to be dominant at any level. I really still like Smith and hope that he simply has a slower learning curve than most. Missing the first few games in his rookie season may have set him back a bit but he still has plenty of time to fix those mistakes.
Local Takes: Oakland Raiders
Levi Damien from Silver and Black Pride says the Raiders' run defense was seriously lacking last week against Tampa Bay:
What they showed was a level of ineptitude with which we had become all too familiar during their near decade of double digit losses. They were well known for their poor run defense. This particular implosion was in epic fashion. Rookie running back Doug Martin's 251 rushing yards were good for tenth all-time and the best ever by a Buccaneer.
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The Ravens need this win, and they'll get it. Baltimore knows the Steelers are next on the schedule, but don't expect a letdown from this veteran group. Since Harbaugh took over as coach back in 2008, Baltimore is an astounding 31-5 at home. The Ravens are simply too talented to let a team like Oakland steal such an important game from them as the calendar hits November.
The Raiders will give it everything they've got, but it won't be nearly enough.
The pick: 30-13, Ravens
The Ravens are favored by six points at home against Oakland. For an in-depth preview, check out oddsshark.com.