Yesterday I had the pleasure of sending questions to Levi Damien of Silver & Black Pride regarding the Raiders @ Ravens matchup.
1. Oakland sits at 2-1, is this where you expected the Raiders after week 3?
It's funny because the Raiders have won the games I thought they would lose and lose the game I thought they would win. They won a barn burner in New Orleans on a gutsy game-winning 2-point conversion, lost a late high scoring game to the Falcons at home (giving up 69 points and over 1000 yards in the first two games), then held the Titans to just 10 points in Tennessee. So, they've been pretty unpredictable so far.
2. The defense has been the demise of your team this season, what is/are the issue(s)?
There have been a few. Sean Smith was torched several times in the opener against the Saints before getting benched (he is still the starter). The tight ends and the run game lit up the Raiders in week two against the Falcons. Last week it was the run defense that gave up the most. The team made a couple changes last week, giving the start to rookie safety Karl Joseph and rookie linebacker Cory James. Both players seemed to perform better than their predecessors and the defense had a good day. The Ravens will be a big test to see if that can continue.
3. Kelechi Osemele is now playing for the Raiders, what can we expect from the big man?
I would think if anyone would know what to expect from him it's you. He is one of the best guards in the league. He has a mean streak and will manhandle most defensive tackles. This week he admitted that his return to Baltimore will be emotional. He's a pretty emotional player as it is. He was kicked out of a training camp practice for fighting. I wouldn't be surprised if he lets his emotions get the better of him and gets flagged for it at least once.
4. What two players, one offense one defense, should Ravens fans be wary of?
On offense you can take your pick between DeAndre Washington or Jalen Richard. The two stocky rookie scat backs have great speed and elusiveness and one of them will undoubtedly break off a big run at some point. They stay fresh as a change of pace from starter Latavius Murray.
Even without a sack yet this season, it's priority number one for opposing offenses to be wary of Khalil Mack. He proved last season with his being named All Pro at two different positions that he should have been the defensive rookie of the year ahead of Aaron Donald let alone have more votes than CJ Mosley. He is overdue to start putting up sacks. Most of us will be watching closely to see if rookie safety Karl Joseph can continue to have a positive impact on the defense.
5. How do you see the game going Sunday? Offensive shoot-out? Blow-out victory for one side? Raiders or Ravens victory?
I don't see this being a shootout, though I do expect both teams to show some offense. I also don't expect a blow out. I have the Ravens winning it, let's go 24-20.