Posted in Pregame Content

Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders: 5 predictions and a score

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens take on the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football to start the season. Here are five predictions for the purple and black heading into the big opening game.

1. Gus Edwards shows off

The Baltimore Ravens lost J.K. Dobbins and it’s being pitched as a massive blow against the Ravens’ chances. Meanwhile, the Ravens still have Gus Edwards, who has had three strong seasons in a row. Are the Raiders glad they don’t have to chase down Dobbins? Sure. Do they really want more Gus Edwards? Their linebackers certainly don’t. Edwards is one of the most physical running backs in the NFL and he has a chance to show off. A strong showing by Edwards will calm the nerves down a bit for this offense.

Last season the Raiders couldn’t stop the run. This game is a great chance for the Ravens to get the run game going early. The big signings of the Raiders’ offseason for the defense were Yannick Ngakoue and Solomon Thomas. Ravens fans know first-hand that adding Ngakoue isn’t going to boost the run defense of the Raiders. Even with a defensive-focused 2021 NFL Draft class, nothing screams “The Raiders made the changes to improve against the run!”

Edwards has had six career 100-yard rushing performances. In 2020, he’s the clearly defined number one back. He’s going to add more 100-yard performances this year. The Ravens are going to get the first one of the year in their first game that counts.

2. A strong start to the season by Marquise Brown

With Rashod Bateman being on injured reserve to start the season, and Lamar Jackson getting limited game reps in the preseason, the passing attack is going to feature the familiar stars. While the Ravens must be able to involve much more of the supporting cast through the season, look for a lot of Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews early on. These are Jackson’s guys. This is the trio that doesn’t need time to gel together.

Going into the first game, Marquise Brown is almost a forgotten Raven. He’s missed a lot of practice and he didn’t play in the three preseason games. The Raiders are certainly aware of Brown, though they may have spent less time preparing for him than they would have if this was a 2020 regular-season game. The big reason for Brown’s chance to shine in this game is that the Ravens are going to start to push the ball down the field more. Long story short, the Ravens are going to try to make Brown’s skills as a constant deep threat matter much more this season.

3. Marcus Peters has a pick-six

Marcus Peters has a reputation for the pick-six. Peters has six touchdowns in his career to go with his 31 interceptions. Last season, Peters sealed the game against the Tennessee Titans with an interception. While he didn’t make a house call, the Ravens Flock got payback on the Titans with a logo stomp. Peters had four interceptions and no touchdowns last year. He’s due for a defensive touchdown.

I actually think Derek Carr will have a deceptively good stat line in this game, it just won’t amount to much. The Raiders have some talent and they’re going to make plays. That said, expect Don Martindale’s defense to limit the big plays for the Raiders. Long drives are going to have to sustain the Raiders’ offense. Carr will get frustrated and Peters will put six on the scoreboard for the Ravens.

4. Ravens pass rush looks much improved

The Baltimore Ravens are going to have a much-improved pass rush in the 2020 season. Adding Justin Houston to the mix was a big deal. He’s going to have a sack and a good bit of pressure in his first game as a Raven. Look for Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser to have moments living in the backfield as well. The offensive line is a major question mark for the Raiders.

Going into the NFL Draft I loved the upside of Alex Leatherwood. That being said, the Raiders have him listed as the starting right tackle in his first NFL game. You already know who Don Martindale is attacking. Denzelle Good, who is listed as the starting right guard has a Pro Football Focus grade of 56.7. The left side of the Raiders offensive line looks strong with Kolton Miller and Richie Incognito. Still, the Ravens have the talent advantage in the trenches. With Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe, and a good grouping of linebackers, Baltimore should win the line of scrimmage.

5. Lamar Jackson has 400 total yards and four touchdowns

The Baltimore Ravens are going to see Jackson have an MVP kind of performance in this game. He’s going to be deadly efficient. As a passer let’s give Jackson 275 yards and three touchdowns, with a couple of deep shots getting him there. As a runner let’s give Jackson 125. He’ll have one run where he gets away for a long gain which tacks onto the 50-80 yards you expect from him. It’s Monday Night Football and people think they have Jackson figured out. That sounds like a recipe for Jackson to have a big night.

6. Baltimore Ravens win 35-12

Betting on exact scores is a very hard thing to do. I think this is a big win for the Ravens. I won’t apologize if this game is close. The Ravens have a better roster, a better coach, and a bigger difference-maker under center. 35-12 sounds fun. Let’s give the Raiders four field goals because this Baltimore Ravens defense isn’t breaking.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Projecting Gus Edwards numbers for 2021

We’re already two articles into the Ravens pregame content for the first Monday Night game of the year. Wait, did you think we were going to wait until everybody else started jumping on this? We’re too ready here at PBN!