Tale of the tape
Week 10: Oakland Raiders At Baltimore Ravens
|Carson Palmer is starting to hit his stride for the Raiders, and that means they are developing a fairly exciting passing game. Palmer was forced to go to the air 61 times against the Bucs and he threw for 414 yards while throwing 4 TD passes. Palmer would be better off if he had a complementary running game, but he proved he could stand in the pocket and take the abuse while making plays.||Quarterback||Joe Flacco is a legitimate quarterback who wants to prove he belongs with the elite players at his position in the league. Flacco is coming off an ordinary game in the Ravens’ road win over Cleveland. While he did not light it up, he did not throw an interception and his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Torrey Smith was the difference in the game.|
|Running back Darren McFadden is probably the key to the Raiders offense because he runs hard every play. The Raiders took a big blow when McFadden had to come out of the game after seven carries with an ankle injury. While X-rays were negative, he may not be at his best against the Ravens. Wide receivers Denarius Moore and Darius Heyward-Bey are solid targets for Palmer||Offense||While the Ravens have solid receivers in Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, the offense is largely dependent on the play of Ray Rice. He’s one of the toughest and most dynamic running backs in the league. Boldin is a fine possession receiver while Smith can go downfield and make big plays.|
|The Raiders struggled against the Tampa Bay offense. The biggest issue was their inability to stop the run, as rookie Doug Martin punished them for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns. If they can get battered like that by Martin, how will they hang in there with Baltimore’s Rice. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour has to do a better job.||Defense||The Ravens have several defensive issues, not the least of which is the absence of middle linebacker Ray Lewis. While that’s obviously a problem, some Ravens are stepping up. Keep your eye on young cornerback Cary Lewis who had an interception against the Browns and also led the Ravens with 6 tackles. Ed Reed once again had an interception and he has to be accounted for on every play.|
|Sebastian Janikowski is not ready to give up his unofficial title of the kicker with the strongest leg just yet. He has made 19-of-20 field goal attempts this season. Shane Lechler averaged 54.5 yards on four punts against the Bucs.||Special Teams||The Ravens are hoping for steady play from steady play from special teams after last year’s nightmarish experience with placekicker Billy Cundiff. Head coach John Harbaugh is getting just what he needs as kicker Justin Tucker has made 15-of-16 field goal attempts this season.|
The winner is
More Tales of the tape
National Championship Matchup: #8 Kentucky Vs. #7 Connecticut
No. 8-seeded Kentucky stunned No. 2-seeded Michigan in the Elite Eight and shut down Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky and the Badgers offense in the Final Four.
Semifinal Matchup: #7 Connecticut Vs. #1 Florida
It was three years ago that Jim Calhoun led the UConn Huskies to the college basketball national championship. That Final Four included two of the teams in this year’s Final Four in UConn and Kentucky
Semifinal Matchup: #8 Kentucky Vs. #2 Wisconsin
Wisconsin—who was overshadowed by other top Big Ten teams in the tournament in Michigan and Michigan State—is now the last man standing and hoping to win it all with the likes of big man, Frank Kaminsky.