The Oakland Raiders and their sputtering offense aim to avoid a third consecutive loss when they host the equally inept Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Oakland scored a total of 71 points in winning its first two games but has produced 10 in each of the last two contests - both on the road.
The state of affairs is even worse for the Raiders this week as EJ Manuel fills in for Derek Carr, who suffered a transverse process fracture in his back during last week’s 16-10 loss at Denver and is expected to miss 2-to-6 weeks. However, the star quarterback was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice and claims to be “very ahead of schedule,” according to offensive tackle Donald Penn. Baltimore has been just as futile offensively of late, scoring a total of 16 points in back-to-back losses to Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. The Ravens also have struggled on the other side of the ball, allowing 70 points in the setbacks after yielding a total of 10 in victories over AFC North rivals Cincinnati and Cleveland.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Raiders -2.5. O/U: 39
ABOUT THE RAVENS (2-2): Joe Flacco has not performed well of late, going 39-of-67 for 263 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions over his last two games. He has had success against Oakland, however, passing for 1,023 yards and six TDs with only two picks in the last three meetings. Baltimore sorely misses nose tackle Brandon Williams, who is expected to miss his third straight game with a foot injury after watching the team allow 339 rushing yards in the previous two.
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (2-2): Carr’s injury is yet another blow to a highly touted offense that was without Michael Crabtree last week due to a chest ailment and has received very little production from fellow receiver Amari Cooper and running back Marshawn Lynch. The latter rejoined the league after a year of retirement but has been less than spectacular, rushing for only 151 yards on 45 carries thus far. Manuel handled himself well in relief against Denver, completing 11-of-17 passes for 106 yards before throwing an interception on a late drive to seal the loss.
1. Raiders DE Khalil Mack has recorded four sacks in his last three games, including two versus Denver.
2. Baltimore T Austin Howard, who is among the top run blockers in the league, was released by the Raiders in July.
3. Cooper leads the league with seven dropped passes, according to ESPN.com.
PREDICTION: Ravens 24, Raiders 17