The Baltimore Ravens and the Oakland Raiders will meet for the third straight year as they battle in the Bay Area this weekend. Both teams are coming off consecutive losses and look to get a much needed victory. Unfortunately, the Raiders will be without quarterback Derek Carr as he’s dealing with a back injury. Kickoff inside Oakland Coliseum is at 4:05 PM ET.
The Ravens are 7-3 against the Raiders over their last 10 head-to-head meetings. Despite the Raiders having won the last 2 games in this series, I am still surprised that they are favored in this game. Without QB Derek Carr, the Raiders are not the same team. In fact, they are significantly worse. Backup QB EJ Manuel will be the starter and he’s not reliable enough to lead this Raiders team to victory. Just ask the Buffalo Bills about Manuel’s tenure there.
Oakland (2-2) has won their last 5 games at home and the Ravens (2-2) have lost 5 out of their last 6 road games. The Ravens have looked terrible the last two weeks as they seemingly forgot how to play offense. They’re coming off two straight losses where they’ve been outscored 70-16. Will they be able to turn things around in Oakland?
The spread opened with the Raiders favored by 4 points. It has since come down to 2.5 points. The Over/Under opened at 40 points and has come down to 39 total points.
Baltimore has looked so terrible over the last two weeks that their opponent is still favored despite having to start their backup quarterback. But, if there ever was a week for Baltimore to turn things around, it’s this one. Folks, Raiders backup QB EJ Manuel is not a good quarterback. And, this Raiders offense isn’t effective without Carr under center. Manuel came into the game against Denver and threw a pick that ended the game. I expect him to do more of the same this week against an angry, embarrassed Ravens team.
Before Carr was injured in the Broncos game, the Raiders weren’t necessarily lighting up the NFL as they were destroyed by Washington 27-10 the week prior. It was the ugliest offensive performance of the season as Oakland only totaled 128 yards and that was with Carr as quarterback. On the season, the Raiders are only averaging 301 yards per game with a meager 86 rushing yards per game. Additionally, they are averaging 22 points per game, but that’s deceiving as they put up 45 points against the Jets and have only scored 46 total points in their 3 other games. In fact, if you throw out the Jets game, the Raiders offense has been horrible.
The Ravens are giving up 15 points per game and that’s after giving up 70 total points the last two weeks. Their first 2 weeks were blowout victories over divisional rivals the Bengals and the Browns where they won by a combined score of 44-10.
Both defenses are giving up roughly 360 yards per game. So, there is no clear-cut advantage other than the Raiders are starting Manuel as QB. Surprisingly, the normally solid Joe Flacco has been downright awful this season as he’s only averaging 150 passing yards per game. Additionally, he’s thrown 6 interceptions to just 4 touchdowns and was benched late in the game two weeks ago.
For the Ravens to win this game, they need better play from Flacco and their running game. They also need the Ravens defense to play like they did the first two weeks and get after EJ Manuel. Fortunately, the Raiders don’t have a strong rushing attack to take pressure off of Manuel.
For the Raiders to win, they need Manuel to manage the game, play solid defense and get something out of their running game. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening for Oakland. I think this week marks the beginning of a tailspin without Carr. I think the Raiders defense will be on the field too long and the Ravens offense will finally have some success for the first time in 3 weeks.
I expect Flacco to outplay Manuel, which shouldn’t be hard, and for the Ravens run game to come alive against a Raiders defense that’s giving up 120 rushing yards per game. Look for running back Collins to lead the Ravens offense in rushing yards. He’s their most explosive back and could be a solid runner if he can hold onto the ball. This game will be ugly at times, but I see Baltimore winning this slug fest 16-9.
Baltimore is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against Oakland. The Raiders are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.