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Today: Ravens at Raiders

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 14, 2001


OF NOTE: Rich Gannon's scrambling never will be more important than today. Gannon's ability to make plays on the run could be pivotal. Baltimore's defense will be tenacious against the run and then try to blitz Gannon into submission, but unlike other teams who go with maximum protection, Oakland will continue to flood the passing lanes with four and five receivers and hope Gannon can avoid the rush. Defensively, the Raiders are playing with a chip on their shoulders and will be eager to derail Trent Dilfer's efforts to get back to Tampa. But they have to stop RB Jamal Lewis to have any chance, then minimize the big-play abilities of TE Shannon Sharpe. Throw in the Raiders' dominating home-field advantage and the fierce intensity of coach Jon Gruden and you have all the ingredients needed for an Oakland victory.

KEY INJURIES: Ravens -- WR Billy Davis (thigh/knee), FB Sam Gash (back), S Kim Herring (ankle) are questionable. Raiders -- RB Napoleon Kaufman (knee) is doubtful. WR David Dunn (ankle), CB Darrien Gordon (toe), DT Grady Jackson (shoulder) are questionable.

HOOPER'S PREDICTION: Raiders 20, Ravens 14.

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