Week 4 NFL Daily Picks: Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens

Derek Carr is poised to have a huge game agains an awful pass defense in Week 4.
Derek Carr is poised to have a huge game agains an awful pass defense in Week 4.

OAK @ BAL
Time: NOON CT
Spread: BAL -3.5
M/L: BAL -185; OAK +160
Total: 45.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Oakland Raiders are 2-1 coming off a Week 3 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The Raiders now travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens as 3.5 point underdogs according to NFL oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game will air at Noon (Central) on CBS.

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Oakland defeated Tennessee 17-10 last week as the Raiders defense was very active with three turnovers forced, while David Carr battered the Titans’ ‘D’ for 249 yards and a touchdown. The Raider defense made a strong goal line stop late in the game and looks to be a huge source of improvement for Oakland. Carr posted a 79.3 passer rating and Michael Crabtree had a lot to do with why, catching 8 of 11 targeted passes for 102 yards, with a long of 31-yards. Amari Cooper was No. 2 with 62 yards on four receptions. The Raiders caught 21 of 35 targeted passes while averaging 11.9 yards per reception.

Oakland also had moderate success rushing the football, garnering 4.9 yards per attempt on 25 carries. DeAndre Washington led the way with 57 yards on just six carries, rushing for one attempt 30-yards. Latavious Murry somewhat struggled gaining just 37 yards on his team-high 10 carries. Oakland ranks No. 2 in the NFL in rushing yardage with 148.3 per game, and its offense is generating 26.7 points per game (good for No. 7 in the NFL). It is defensively that the Raiders most need to up the ante, as they are giving up 26.3 points per game which ranks No. 22 in the league.

The offense has been good, and Carr has amped the pass game up to No. 8 in the league too with 287.7 yards per game, but the Raiders could have defeated Atlanta perhaps if not for giving up 35 points. Only Week 3 in the 17-10 victory over Tennessee was the defense good, but that week it was very good. The Raiders must look to build upon what it did right last week, and a lot of that was just resolve and digging in deep when the Titans attacked. If Oakland does that this week they could emerge as underdog victors.

The Baltimore Ravens are undefeated, but it has faced three easy opponents thus far in the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars. This week presents more of a challenge for a team that has won by an average of 4.3 points per game over its first three contests.

Joe Flacco has been good as usual, but he has thrown four interceptions and has been sacked six times, which are both pretty bad marks for just three games. He has completed 64.4 percent of his passes though and is averaging 242.0 yards per game. His 3.4 percent interception ratio definitely needs to fall significantly, but Dennis Pitta, Steve Smith and Mike Wallace have all been good. Pitta in particular has caught 18 of 24 targeted passes for a team-high 183 yards with nine first downs. Wallace leads the team in first downs (10) and touchdowns (three).

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The Ravens have had much less success with its backfield. Terrance West and Justin Forsett each have rushed for 119 and 98 yards, respectively, but both are averaging just 3.6 yards and 3.2 yards per carry ,respectively, as well. The duo needs to step it up, because Flacco is not much of a rushing quarterback and the Ravens have managed just 247 rushing yards on the season which ranks them No. 25 in the league. The pass game isn’t stellar at 242 yards per, but even ranking No. 21 is slightly better. Baltimore is just not an offensive team.

Defensively, they have done what they always do, and the Ravens are allowing just 14.7 points per game which ranks No. 4 in the league. Granted, Baltimore has played some pretty poor opponents, but this trend is likely to stick as the Ravens are a strong defensive team that should be able to put the clamps on Oakland.

The Raiders rank second-to-last in pass defense also, which bodes well for Flacco  and his stable of receivers. Expect the Ravens to generate sufficient offense and remain undefeated with a slight edge on Oakland in this one.

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