Baltimore might have kicked off the Lamar Jackson era last week when they clawed back to .500 with a close win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The victory puts them in position to take advantage of an easier second-half schedule for a possible playoff run.
The big question now is whether the Ravens will move forward with their future franchise quarterback at the helm or hand the ball back to the more-experienced franchise quarterback if and when Joe Flacco is healthy.
Despite what Joh Harbaugh said before last week’s game about not having to change the offensive playbook much, the Ravens look radically different with the mobile rookie behind center than they ever could with a banged-up Flacco.
Jackson ran for more yards than he passed. In fact, he didn’t throw a single pass on his first drive, which isn’t unusual until you realize the team marched down the field for a touchdown.
Oakland Raider fans don’t care. John Gruden’s troops came through with their second win of the season, stemming the bleeding of a fractured locker room for a little while.
But not all was golden. Beating Arizona with a rookie quarterback is not going to fool anyone into thinking so. It was a nice ending, but the sideline cameras helped us see why fans are concerned about Gruden’s effect on this team.
Injuries and notes
Wide receivers Martavis Bryant (knee), Jordy Nelson (knee), and Dwayne Harris (chest) are listed as questionable along with running back Doug Martin (ankle) for the Raiders.
Cornerback Leon Hall is also questionable with a back injury.
Both of the Ravens starting tackles remain listed as questionable.
John Harbaugh hasn’t been to the playoffs for a while and his team would like that streak to end in what could be the final season for Flacco and their head coach. When Flacco was healthy early in the season, it looked like the Ravens were a shoo-in for a playoff spot. Playing behind a wounded Flacco led to some disappointing losses, a pattern that killed their season a year ago.
How Harbaugh handles the Jackson-Flacco decision could mean a playoff spot, as well as a continued stint in Baltimore.
John Gruden continues to coach like he has a ten-year guaranteed contract. Is the locker room contentious or fractured? Cameras caught Gruden in a heated conversation with “his” franchise passer, Derek Carr, during the game. That can’t be good.
How to watch the Ravens-Raiders game
CBS Sports will broadcast this game to the teams’ local markets, which means folks in Oakland smart enough to have cut the cord with their cable or satellite provider, can watch the live stream NFL contest on DirecTV Now.
DirecTV Now carries CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, and the NFL Network. That means you can follow live stream NFL action all season long on your internet-connected TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone wherever you have a Wi-Fi signal.
When there’s no game, you can watch dozens of movie and entertainment channels included in your monthly subscription.
Internet TV providers like DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, or Sling TV, give you all the NFL and entertainment venues you need without a contract or any special equipment, at a fraction of what it costs to have cable or satellite TV in your home.
Check out their websites to see why no one who wants to save money should still be using cable or satellite TV.
Who will win the Ravens-Raiders game?
Baltimore knows they can’t lose a game against a rebuilding franchise like the Raiders. It has “trap game” written all over it, but the team will be led by either a savvy veteran or an excited rookie. Neither is likely to allow their teammates to let down.
Oakland was feeling pretty good after last week’s win. They say winning is contagious, but in Oakland’s case, it has probably run its course.