Three games into the season, the Oakland Raiders find themselves second in the AFC West, with a record of 2-1. The Raiders head on the road for Week 4, departing for M&T Bank Stadium to battle against the Baltimore Ravens.
Entering Week 4, the Raiders find their offensive and defense on different ends of the spectrum. While the offense has produced steadily in big stages, the defense has struggled to contain production.
The Raiders offense is totaling 436 yards per game, which is second in the NFL, behind the Atlanta Falcons. The defense is allowing a league-worst 476 yards per game. While coach Jack Del Rio’s defense has allowed a lot of yardage, they are ranked 20th in points allowed (79).
The Ravens enter Week 4 in the opposite frame of mind as the Raiders. Head coach John Harbaugh has his hard-nosed defense on point, while the offense has yet to produce this season.
The Ravens are averaging the second least amount of yards this season (254.3 YPG), while the offense is ranked 25th in offense (324.3 YPG).
Sunday’s matchup marks the ninth meeting between the two franchises, with the Ravens capturing six of the eight previous meetings. The Raiders have yet to win on the road at M&T Bank Stadium, attempting to earn the franchise’s first career road victory against the Ravens.
The two teams last met on Sept. 20, 2015, in a matchup at the Coliseum. The Raiders came out with a 37-33 victory, thanks to a 12-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left from Derek Carr.
Carr had an outstanding outing against the Ravens last season, completing 30 of 46 passes, for a career-high 351 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. While the Ravens mounted a late comeback in the fourth quarter, Carr demonstrated his ‘mamba mentality’ and earned the victory.
Ravens head coach Jon Harbaugh recently praised the Raiders and their production, including the pass rush tandem of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.
Coach Del Rio will have to make some adjustments on the offensive line, as Austin Howard and Menelik Watson have already been ruled out.
However, Del Rio got a glimmer of hope in Matt McCants. The offensive tackle returned to practice on Friday, with him still listed as questionable entering Saturday.
The battle between the offensive line of the Raiders and defensive line of the Ravens will be key. Carr has only been sacked twice this season, while Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs already has three sacks this season.
An interesting matchup to watch will surface between wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and cornerback Sean Smith. Harbaugh also praised the production of Sean Smith and David Amerson, as the secondary has shown steady production thus far.
The contest is slated for 1:00 p.m., Eastern Time. The Raiders have won both contests on the road this season, while losing their Week 2 matchup at home against the Falcons.