Week 02: Ravens vs. Raiders
Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
When: 1 p.m., Sept. 16
TV: WJZ-TV (Channel 13); Gus Johnson, Steve Tasker
Radio: WIYY-FM (97.9); Gerry Sandusky, Rob Burnett, Stan White
Last year: 4-12, last place in AFC West Division
ABOUT THE RAIDERS:
• Part of the reason the Raiders had a -4 turnover ratio was the fact they only intercepted five passes. However, they only lost nine fumbles in 2005.
• Oakland was sixth in red-zone defense last year, allowing touchdowns only 45.8 percent of the time.
• As is usually the case, Oakland led the NFL in penalties last year with 147. Baltimore was fourth with a club-record 139, but committed only four in their Week One shutout in Tampa.
• In 2005, the Raiders ranked 21st offensively (29th rushing, 10th passing) and 27th in overall defense (25th versus the rush, 18th versus the pass).
• New quarterback Aaron Brooks posted a 70 rating in New Orleans last year, but he supplants free agent Kerry Collins (77), now in Tennessee. Brooks is 38-44 (not including Monday night) in his career as a starter.
• Former Maryland and New York Jets running back LaMont Jordan (1125 yards, 11 TDs) keys the running game, along with former Indianapolis fullback Zack Crockett. The unheralded Courtney Anderson starts at tight end.
• The wideouts are talented, but moody. Randy Moss (60 receptions, eight TDs in 2005) caught a TD pass in Baltimore while with Minnesota during his 1998 rookie season and, with 98 career receiving TDs, needs two to become the seventh receiver in league history with 100. West Virginia product Jerry Porter (76, five) has downfield speed, but offseason incidents have him in the doghouse.
• Along the offensive line, center Jake Grove, who has had shoulder problems this preseason, is the only starter returning in the same spot. There is shuffling among the rest of them: Robert Gallery (right tackle to left tackle), Barry Sims (left tackle to left guard), Langston Walker (left guard to right tackle) and Paul McQuistan (left tackle in college to right guard), brother of Dallas rookie Pat McQuistan.
• The Raiders could have a decided advantage on the left side of the defensive line with end Derrick Burgess (57 tackles, 16 sacks) and tackle Warren Sapp (32, five) working against Keydrick Vincent and Tony Pashos. Sapp's 84.5 career sacks is fifth among active players.
• Last year, Burgess' six multi-sack games set an NFL record for most with a player on a new team.
• The secondary is young with second-year cornerback Fabian Washington (Nebraska), who got an interception in the Hall of Fame Game, and 2006 first-round pick Michael Huff (Texas), a hard-hitting, fast safety.
• Punter Shane Lechler is one of the league's best, averaging 45.7 yards per boot and dropping 26 inside the coffin corner last year. His 45.9 career gross average is tops among active punters. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski was a mere 20-for-30 on field goals last season.
For Baltimore, a Week One shutout on the road against a tough opponent raises the bar.
Issue 1.21: September 14, 2006