The Oakland Raiders (2-1) have a tall task ahead of them facing the undefeated Baltimore Ravens (3-0) on Sunday
It’s the Silver and Black’s third game on the East Coast in the past four weeks, and they’ll need another huge offensive performance from Derek Carr and the running game if they want to come out of Baltimore with a win.
The defensive secondary will also play an integral part in whether or not the Raiders manage to win this game.
The Ravens haven’t beaten a squad boasting a winning record, though they come in sporting three straight wins over the Bills, Browns and Jaguars to start the season. Despite the easy schedule, they’ve still taken care of business and remain undefeated.
How the Raiders defense plays will be paramount if the underdog Raiders are to beat the +3.5 spread set by Bovada.lv. Last week against the Titans, the Raiders defense managed to clamp down and limited Tennessee to 336 yards of offense.
It was a far cry from their woeful performances weeks one and two, where they gave up over 1,000 yards total.
The insertions of rookie safety Karl Joseph and rookie middle linebacker Cory James into the line-up did wonders to improve the defense, but can they keep it up against a much better team, like the Ravens?
The Titans offense is nowhere near as lethal as the Ravens, especially in regards to the passing game.
Tight end Dennis Pitta is also the Ravens leading receiver, and the Raiders have yet to prove that they can cover tight ends. James is a a smaller, safety-hybrid linebacker and the rookie will have to showcase his coverage abilities against a quality tight end.
This game will probably end up being a shoot-out, and the Raiders will need to establish a solid running game against a very good Ravens front.
No team so far this season has been very successful running into the teeth of the Ravens defense, led by defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Williams. Baltimore has the eighth best run defense in the league, allowing 86 yards a game on the ground.
On the flip side of that, the Raiders have the second best rushing attack in the league, averaging 148 yards a game. Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard have been lightning that cannot be bottled, so far this season.
Establishing a consistent running game will help stifle the Ravens pass rush. Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil will be making his season debut after dealing with an injury and linebacker Terrell Suggs is always a handful to block. Suggs already has three sacks to start the season.
The Raiders should be able to handle the pass rush and run for over 100 yards in this game. Last season, the Raiders managed to beat the Ravens 37-33 at home, in a wild game that went back-and-forth the whole way.
The game this Sunday could also be a high scoring affair, and the game will be decided on how well the Raiders defense can cover Baltimore’s tight ends and wide receivers.
The Raiders limit the Ravens to less than 300 yards passing. Due to the improved play in the secondary, the Raiders manage to steal one on the road against a very tough opponent, and take the game 27-24.