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5 players the Raiders need to play well to beat Ravens

5 players the Raiders need to play well to beat Ravens

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Cory Littleton, Las Vegas Raiders

Cory Littleton, Las Vegas Raiders. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

The Las Vegas Raiders are slight home underdogs vs. the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.

For the first time ever, we will have fans in the stands for a Las Vegas Raiders NFL regular-season game, as the Silver and Black welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Allegiant Stadium for some Monday Night Football.

This will mark the fourth season Jon Gruden has been back at the helm of the Raiders. Conversely, it is also the fourth season of the Lamar Jackson era of the Ravens offense. While Baltimore is expected to be a playoff team, Las Vegas needs to probably push for a spot for Gruden and his team to feel good about getting into the second half of his gargantuan 10-year Raiders contract.

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If the Raiders are going to play well on Monday night, these five players have to step up big time.

Las Vegas Raiders: 5 players who need to play well vs. Baltimore Ravens

5

Cory Littleton

LB Las Vegas Raiders

Cory Littleton must have his head on a swivel to stop the Baltimore ground game

Even if Baltimore plans to be more vibrant in the passing game this year, odds are the Ravens will be ground-centric in their approach Week 1 at Las Vegas. That means there will be plenty of designed runs for Jackson, as well as the consistently strong Baltimore ground game. If linebacker Cory Littleton is not in the middle of the action trying to make all the tackles, that will be an issue.

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As with most of the players on this list, Littleton needs to be a tone-setter for his particular position group. Yes, Baltimore is going to get its yards on the ground because that is what the Ravens do. However, the Raiders need to make sure the Ravens earn every yard they get on the ground. Should Littleton and company struggle to come up with tackles, Las Vegas is not winning.

Ultimately, Littleton and the linebacking corps cannot do this alone. They will need timely plays from the secondary, as well as a some semblance of a pass-rush to manifest. Again, holding the Ravens to around 100 yards rushing and forcing a fumble or two is about as good as you would hope for from the Raiders defense. Its ceiling is not high, but its floor cannot be a hopeless abyss.

Littleton and the linebackers need to have the Ravens in second and third-and-long situations.

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