RSR staff give predictions for the Ravens’ Week 4 game against Oakland…
A showdown in Baltimore with the Raiders provides them their toughest test yet. If there ever was a week for the offense to get going this is it against the 32nd ranked defense of Oakland.
The defense will add to their takeaways by picking Derek Carr twice. The stout defensive front records four sacks and will have Carr flustered from the opening whistle.
Ravens 31 Raiders 17
This won’t be the 55-20 smackdown of Oakland that we saw the last time the Raiders played here in 2012…but it will indeed be the closest thing to a blowout we’ve seen so far in 2016. I just see this as one of those games where everything goes right for the home team – tipped balls while the Raiders offense is on the field fall right into the waiting arms of Ravens defenders, while those occurring with Joe Flacco & co. out there fall harmlessly to the grass.
The running game finally gets going, while Flacco hits a couple deep shots. Elvis Dumervil returns in style, sacking Derek Carr twice and forcing a fumble (that bounces right to a Raven). Devin Hester makes up for last week’s gaffe with a big punt return, his first TD as a Raven.
Ravens 34 Raiders 17
Ugh, I don’t have a particularly good feeling about this game. I believe that this is a game they should win – rosters are pretty even, with Raiders probably a little more talented at skill positions, but Ravens are at home – but I’m not yet convinced that the Ravens’ D is for real.
The good news is that my gut feelings are usually wrong on things like this!
Hopefully, the Ravens’ D can hold down the Raiders’ O enough, but Flacco and the O are going to have to be more efficient, control the clock and score (touchdowns, please!).
Heart says: Ravens 31, Raiders 20
Head says: Raiders 34, Ravens 31
This week that Raiders offense is going against the best defense they’ve faced this season in Baltimore. If the Titans were able to hold QB Derek Carr to 249 yards, 1 TD & 1 INT, I would think the Ravens defense could do similar damage. The biggest difference between what the Titans did and what the Ravens will do? The Titans are allowing 108 yards on the ground per game, while the Ravens have held teams to 86 ground yards per game (a skewed stat thanks to one 85-yard Crowell scamper in Week 2, or else the Ravens would be at 57.6 ypg on the ground!!)
Flip the table, and the Ravens offense will have it’s easiest matchup of the season (31st ranked Raiders D) BUT this Ravens offense is also the worst (25th overall) the Raiders have faced this season.
Ultimately, I believe the Ravens defense will get the best of the Raiders offense, but the Ravens offense will not score at the same rate as New Orleans or Atlanta managed. Flacco will have 3 TD’s (1 pick for good measure on a ‘where was that?!’ throw), going to Wallace, Pitta, and Juice of all people! They’ll add a defensive score (fumble recovery by Sizzle ran back), block another extra point because I said so, and in an unorthodox score that I have to use since I already pushed it on Locked On Ravens (see above) this week as I channeled my inner Chris Berman… the Ravens go to 4-0.
This is a game where the offense needs to get rolling. We’ve seen some signs of life and stretches where they’ve played well but they’ll need a better effort to get to 4-0.
The Raiders defense hasn’t played well, so the opportunity is there, but their offense is one of the best young groups in the league. If the Ravens want to win this game they’ll need to score close to 30 points. With the left side of the line unsettled, and the possibility of another James Hurst appearance I’m not sure that will happen.
Offensively, the Raiders are second in the NFL in yards per game. They are 8th in passing yards per game and 2nd in rushing yards per game. The Ravens D is 3rd in the NFL in passing yards given up per game and 8th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. They have also allowed the fourth fewest points this season. Plus, they have only allowed 10 points in the second half total in three games.
Defensively, the Raiders are last in yards per game giving up the most passing yards per game and 4th most rushing yards.
So the Ravens need to go right at the Raiders on offense. If their D is that bad, then air it out. Mike Wallace, Steve Smith Sr. Breshad Perriman, and Dennis Pitta should have huge games. And based on Oakland’s defense alone, this might be the week that the running game gets going for Baltimore.
But the Ravens D has to come to play too, because the Raiders offense is powerful. So this could be a track meet, and I think the Ravens, at home, finding a way to outscore the Raiders.
Ravens win 38-32.
Ravens 24 – Raiders 22
– The defense does well against a strong Raiders O and in typical “bend but don’t break” fashion the Raiders will be held to 1 TD, but be able to cash 5 FG’s
– The Offense improves from the last 3 weeks with a more refined running game. Terrance West goes for 75+ yards on the ground.
– Breshad Perriman finally pulls in 1 of 3 Joe Flacco TD passes. Dennis Pitta and Mike Wallace haul in the others.
– The defense will pick Derek Carr off 2 times and sack him 3 times to force many of these FG’s.