The Baltimore Ravens return home to the friendly and cozy confines of M&T Bank Stadium for the first time in three weeks. The Ravens lost to the Houston Texans on the road, then had their bye week before beating the Cleveland Browns on the road. It has become painfully obvious the two different personalities the team has, one at home and the other on the road.
The Ravens have not lost at home for almost two years, since a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in November of 2010. Since then, they've reeled off an NFL current longest streak of 14 straight home wins and plan to add to that Sunday when the Oakland Raiders come to town.
Baltimore scores around ten more points at home and QBJoe Flacco's QB Rating is almost double at home versus on the road. Whatever the reasons may be, the trend and statistics are undeniable. Baltimore is a home beast but not a road warrior. Not only this, but to be so much better at home and then have an opponent have to fly fully across the country, gives the Ravens a huge advantage heading into this contest.
The 3-5 Raiders are only 1-3 on the road and that sole road win was over the 1-7 Kansas City Chiefs. To expect Oakland to fly across the US and beat a team that has not lost in their own crib for 14 straight games is as far-fetched an idea as there has been in the NFL. Then again, no one expected the Arizona Cardinals to beat the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts earlier this year, back when the Pats owned the longest current home-win streak.
Don't expect that type of lightning to strike twice this season, as there is virtually no way the Ravens can hand this game away to the Raiders. Baltimore's defense may be way down the list from where it once was, but they are still one of the better teams forcing turnovers. Even according to the Oakland Raiders blogger over at Silver & Black Pride, the middle of the defensive line is a weakness, one that the Ravens will surely exploit.
Offensively, the Raiders line has had trouble protecting QB Carson Palmer, which should make the blitzing Ravens drool with anticipation. While Palmer has given headaches to the Ravens while a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, his supporting cast is a far cry from what he had in his tiger striped uniform.
Expect the Ravens to make life miserable for Palmer and harass him into turnovers that Flacco and the offense will turn into points. There are no easy games in the NFL but this one could be one of the few that do not go down to the final moments before as the Ravens radio announcer, Gerry Sandusky says, "the hay is in the barn!"
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