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The Raiders must end the domination by Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium
For me, there has been no greater sign of futility post-Jon Gruden than the bully beatdowns the Raiders have received at the hands of Baltimore in their backyard.
We've been winless all-time on the road against the Ravens. But the first two games were 19-14 (in their debut game in 1996) and 13-10 in 1998.And in that '98 game, Donald Hollas clearly scored on a QB sneak that was not properly called and kept the Raiders out of the playoffs.
Since? Two clear games that established a tone for these teams: 28-6 in 2006 that I remember most for Aaron Brooks basically quitting in Week 2 of an abysmal season; and 29-10 in 2008 after an emotional upset of the Brett Favre-led Jets that started an awful four game losing streak that sabotaged that season.
In both of those games, it was clear that the Raiders, for all the historical bluster and bravado, were simply not physical enough to match up with Baltimore. Even in 2009, the Raiders lost at home in a game remembered for Willis McGahee's half-stiff arm/half-shove away of former Raider Hiram Eugene.
In this new era, I think this game will be a clear benchmark, win or lose, of how much the Raiders have grown under Dennis Allen. One year does not a regime make, but this is a big-time test in my opinion.