The Oakland Raiders take another trip on the road this weekend with a visit to Baltimore. Waiting for them will be the Ravens, who have been playing like they have something to prove in 2016. The Ravens enter the contest with a record of 3-0. Doesn’t feel like it, does it? Well, despite starting the year out 3-0, the Ravens are not on anyone’s favorite list. Yeah, the prospect of them unseating the Patriots and Steelers looks unlikely in the AFC, but they have done everything asked of them so far.
Their schedule hasn’t been the stiffest, in fact, it might be the easiest in the NFL. Again, there is a good reason for why the Ravens aren’t mentioned in the same breath as the Patriots and Steelers. The teams the Ravens have defeated are the Bills, Browns, and Jaguars. They avoided the upset bug and stayed the course. Last week’s win against the Jaguars was no easy chore on the road.
They have certainly played inferior offenses, but the defense has looked better than expected. No, this isn’t the 2000 Ravens, however they have gotten off to a nice start. Say what you want about their opponents, but I saw many pundits out there predicting Tyrod Taylor was going to dice them up. That definitely wasn’t the case, as Taylor was held to 111 yards passing with no touchdowns. The dangerous dual-threat quarterback also had just 11 yards rushing.
The Ravens did their homework on him and it translated to superb results on the football field. Last week the Jaguars were held in check as well. Blake Bortles made critical mistakes, tossing 3 interceptions and throwing for only 194 yards. In a 2-point game, one of those interceptions was the difference between winning and losing for the Jags.
The Oakland Raiders improved in a big way last week on defense. A unit that desperately needed a productive game got it against the Tennessee Titans. The Raiders’ defense looked brand new, nullifying everything the Titans threw their way. The Titans were only able to score 10 points on the afternoon. Marcus Mariota was limited to 214 yards passing, with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. It’s a far-cry from the 69 points they surrendered in Week 1 and 2. Find my pick for this showdown in Baltimore below.
Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Ravens -3.5(-115)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Raiders vs. Ravens Pick:
The Ravens’ defense has looked good through three weeks, as I stated. Statistically they are 2nd in the NFL in total defense. They’ve allowed only 254.3 yards per game and 14.7 points. The Ravens have been particularly good defending the pass, allowing just 168.3 yards per game. They are also tied for 2nd in the league with 5 interceptions. The Raiders will be their trickiest test to date, especially the passing game of Derek Carr. Oakland is 2nd in the NFL in yards per game, as they are averaging a healthy 436 yards per game. The Ravens have to zero in on Carr and limit the big plays.
Oakland had that quality game last week over the Titans and will try to duplicate it again this week. There are a lot of trust issues in this game. What I mean by that is who is for real here. Is the Ravens’ defense for real? Is what we saw last week from the Raiders on defense a random occurrence, or a reflection of the strides they’ve made? I do not believe that the Raiders’ defense is as bad as what we saw in Week 1 and 2, but conversely, don’t expect to see this team allowing only 10 points per game too frequently.
Joe Flacco could be doing better this season. He got paid for winning the Super Bowl, but he hasn’t really earned the pay he’s received for his work since then. Flacco has thrown 3 touchdown and 4 interceptions thus far. He looks like a fancy fantasy pick this week and I suppose I can see why. The Raiders are dead last in the week defending the pass, giving up a whopping 340 yards per game. I think Flacco gets a much needed above average start this afternoon.
Everybody is jumping on the Raiders here with the points. I, however, see them looking sluggish having to travel all the way back over the country to Baltimore, after they were in Tennessee a week ago. This is their third game in four weeks playing out of their time zone. I like the Ravens to get by the Raiders with the win and cover.
PICK: RAVENS -3.5 (-115)