February 19, 2018

With Derek Carr out, Ravens prepare for Raiders backup QB EJ Manuel

09 October 2017, 12:30 | Ken Black

Ravens vs. Raiders Who the experts are taking Week 5

Ravens vs. Raiders Who the experts are taking Week 5

EJ Manuel fared decently as a fill-in at Denver but obviously marks a big step down from Carr. Much will be expected of the two in the game the Raiders as well. Now the team has lost two in a row and possibly their quarterback for an extended period of time.

The Ravens have their own issues at quarterback, although it's not about health. Oakland has converted 2 of 23 third-down tries on offense the past two games as the running game hasn't stagnated, leading to too many long-yardage situations. Baltimore has lost two straight as well falling to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers giving up a combined 70 points.

Quarterback Joe Flacco is going to show up. Oakland has given up 10 sacks through games (seven in the past two weeks) after giving up 18 all of last season. This means that for the month or so the two seasons overlap, the Raiders play their home games on a field that includes a baseball diamond. "He has definitely come into his own, but EJ Manuel has also been an National Football League quarterback, and I think the last time we played him, they beat us", veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs said. Carr left the game with a back spasm.

Last week against Denver, Oakland gave up 143 rushing yards.

The Raiders will lean heavily on the run game over the next few weeks as EJ Manuel prepares to take over behind center and that may be what Marshawn Lynch needs to get rolling as he has been very quiet in his return to the NFL.

One positive has been All-Pro Khalil Mack. Surely their colons enter this game completely clear. The Raiders won the previous two behind fourth-quarter touchdown drives led by Derek Carr.

Baltimore has had all sorts of trouble on offense and now the defense is going in the wrong direction too. That's a massive downgrade, even though Cooper has been a ghost regardless of the quarterback.

- Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams.

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