Neither the Oakland Raiders nor Baltimore Ravens reached the playoffs last season, but their matchup is one of the biggest on the Week 4 schedule. Both teams look to be legitimate playoff contenders after combining for a 5-1 record to start the 2016 NFL season.
Entering the season with high expectations, the Raiders have been impressive with two road victories. They dropped their Week 2 contest against the Atlanta Falcons, but Oakland appears more than capable of winning in Baltimore, which has proven to be one of the most difficult places for opponents to play in recent years.
The Ravens enter Sunday’s game as 3.5-point favorites at Las Vegas and online sportsbooks, via OddsShark. They are one of just five remaining unbeaten teams, though they’ve easily been the least impressive of the bunch.
Baltimore sits atop a competitive AFC North, ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, who reached the postseason a year ago. The Ravens, however, haven’t been tested in 2016, and they could be in for their first defeat when they finally face a formidable opponent.
With wins against the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore’s opponents have gone a combined 1-8. The Ravens had to come back from a 20-0 deficit when they defeated Cleveland in Week 2, and they narrowly escaped defeat in Jacksonville when Justin Tucker hit a 52-yard field goal with just over a minute remaining in regulation.
Baltimore’s No. 2 ranked defense will truly be put to the test when it faces Oakland's No. 2 ranked offense. The Ravens surrender just 254.3 yards per game, while the Raiders average 436 yards of offense.
Making smart draft picks over the last few years, Oakland has assembled one of the league’s most explosive young offensives. Third-year quarterback Derek Carr looks to be a potential star, posting a 99.1 passer rating after he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015. Amari Cooper should be an All-Pro wide receiver for years to come, and Latavius Murray is averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
After giving up 69 total points in their first two games, the Raiders proved that they can win a low-scoring affair. With Carr putting up his worst numbers on the season, Oakland limited the Tennessee Titans to just one touchdown, winning 17-10 on the road.
Joe Flacco has put up pedestrian numbers, ranking 26th in the league with a 77.4 passer rating. He hasn’t been supported by a strong running game, which also ranks 26th among all NFL teams, and the Ravens could have difficulty keeping up with Oakland’s offensive attack.
Prediction: Oakland over Baltimore, 27-20