The Baltimore Ravens may be 3-0, but they have to be the least convincing undefeated team remaining in the league, for not the least which reason being that the record of the teams that they have beaten outside of the games that they played against them is 1-5.
The Ravens have been able to hold the scoreboard down for the most part, but they haven’t faced much in the way of offensive prowess as of yet, but they should certainly get that against the 2-1 Oakland Raiders, who come to Baltimore today with the eighth-highest scoring offense, averaging 26.7 points per game, and the second-highest yardage output, averaging 436 yards per game.
Derek Carr’s passing offense has produced a top-10 unit, completing 79 of 118 passes for 867 yards and five touchdowns, but unlike most teams, they have balanced it with a proficient run game. They average nearly 150 rushing yards per game, ranking second in the league.
Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard have both been effective, combining for 282 yards on 47 carries with four touchdowns between them, and DeAndre Washington’s 117 yards on 18 carries gives them three running backs who have all produced behind one of the league’s fastest-rising offensive lines.
Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper have combined for 34 receptions and 490 yards, and they have been getting quality contributions from the top to the bottom of the roster. The Ravens will have their hands full if they are intent on keeping their second-overall defensive ranking, having allowed only 254.3 yards per game thus far.
The Ravens’ 14.7 points allowed per game also ranks fourth in the league, and they have seen at least middling success in terms of producing sacks and turnovers and getting off the field on third down, but they have yet to be tested by an offense that is potentially as good as Oakland’s, which put up 35 points at Heinz Field last year.
Muddling things up for the Raiders, however, is the fact that not only is their right tackle out for the game, so is their backup. For a line that has only given up two sacks through the first three games, that could pose a problem, especially with the Ravens getting Elvis Dumervil back this week.
Still, it would seem that this game produces easily the Ravens’ best chance of dropping the ball that they have been presented with thus far this season—after all, it is their first opponent that they are facing to have an above-.500 record amongst opponents other than Baltimore.
The Ravens won just five games last year. They are already 60 percent of the way there, but I have a hard time imagining they make it 80 percent today. I expect Baltimore’s defense to come back down to earth some against a quality young Raiders offense, and I don’t know that their own offense, coming into this game with offensive line injuries of their own, can match.