RAVENS PASSING GAME: Quarterback Joe Flacco is facing more criticism than perhaps ever before after consecutive dreadful performances by him and the offense. Flacco has led his team to points on just three of his past 25 drives. He has one touchdown pass while throwing four interceptions and getting sacked six times over the past two weeks. A perceived breakout candidate this year, Breshad Perriman has two catches for 11 yards in four games.
RAIDERS PASSING GAME: The Raiders go from Derek Carr, a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback regarded as one of the league's best, to EJ Manuel who hasn't won a start since 2014. Manuel is bigger and more mobile than Carr, but the Ravens don't expect Oakland's offense to change too much. Star receiver Amari Cooper is off to a slow start with 12 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jared Cook leads the team with 16 catches. Oakland has been good in the red zone.
RAVENS RUNNING GAME: The Ravens continue to work with young running back Alex Collins on his ball security, but they've decided for now that his upside and elusiveness makes it worth dealing with the fumbling risks he brings. Collins has lost two fumbles in 25 carries, but he's also averaged 8.2 yards per rushing attempt. Opening week starter Terrance West has just 18 carries for 41 yards over the past three weeks. Running the ball has been much more difficult for the Ravens since right guard Marshal Yanda went down.
RAIDERS RUNNING GAME: With a big, touted offensive line and a power back in Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders have the makings of a dominant running game. It hasn't happened yet. They average 86.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL. Lynch has just 15 carries for 30 yards over the past two weeks and he's averaging a pedestrian 3.4 yards a carry overall. With Manuel at the helm, expect the Raiders to challenge the Ravens' run defense early and often.
RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: With stud defensive tackle Brandon Williams sidelined with a foot injury, the Ravens have allowed 339 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns the past two weeks. Allowing 127.3 rushing yards per game, they rank a disappointing 25th in the NFL at stopping the run. The Raiders figure to test the Ravens with counter plays and outside runs, plays that the Pittsburgh Steelers had a field day with last game. The Ravens' young outside linebackers have to do a better job of setting the edge.
RAIDERS RUSH DEFENSE: Just like last year, Oakland is having problems stopping the run. The Raiders are giving up 120 rushing yards per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL. Opponents are gaining 4.3 yards per carry. Only nine teams are allowing more. The Raiders have surrendered just one rushing touchdown. Weak-side linebacker Cory James leads the team with 32 tackles. Safeties Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson are active in run support.
RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The Ravens have gotten superb cornerback play from Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey. Per Pro Football Focus, Carr and Smith rank first and third in the league in allowing the lowest quarterback rating while in coverage. Teams have had success targeting Lardarius Webb and C.J. Mosley in the middle of the field. The Ravens have just one sack over the past two games and they desperately need Terrell Suggs and company to put pressure on quarterback EJ Manuel.
RAIDERS PASS DEFENSE: The Raiders' pass rush will present numerous problems for a much-maligned Ravens front. Chief among them is Khalil Mack, who is off to the best start of his career with four sacks in as many games. Mack will rush from a couple of different spots. Bruce Irvin is another threat on the edge and the emergence of defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. has made Oakland's pass rush even more dangerous. The Raiders have given up six touchdown passes and don't have an interception.
RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: The Ravens are playing a lot of youth on special teams and that's probably the best explanation for some of the weekly penalties on kicks and punts. They have held the opposition to the second-lowest kickoff return average (15.4) in the league and the fifth worst punt return average (3.9). Justin Tucker has missed one more field goal this season than he did all of last year, but his misses are from 58 and 62 yards. The offense isn't giving the kicker a chance to make an impact on the game.
RAIDERS SPECIAL TEAMS: Well-traveled kicker Giorgio Tavecchio stepped in for an injured Sebastian Janikowski and all he's done is make all seven of his field-goal attempts and all 10 of his point-after tries. Marquette King leads the lead with a 52.6 gross punting average, which is two yards more than the next closest punter. Kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson is considered one of the best in the league. Reserve running back Jalen Richard returns punts.
RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens go to Oakland as a pretty vulnerable team. Mistakes have added to the frustration — they are only plus-two in turnover ratio despite getting 10 takeaways in the first two weeks, and they've been one of the most penalized teams in the league. In recent years, they've also been a poor road team with the longer they travel usually meaning the worse they play. The Ravens have lost eight straight October games. They've also lost seven of their past eight games on the road.
Baltimore Ravens Insider
RAIDERS INTANGIBLES: They haven't looked as bad as the Ravens have in doing it, but the Raiders have also lost two straight games. Their offense has been a significant disappointment so far and now they are without their starting quarterback. The Raiders have beaten the Ravens in back-to-back seasons. They've won seven of their past nine home games, including a 37-33 victory over the Ravens at the Oakland Coliseum in September 2015.
PREDICTION: The Ravens obviously caught a break with Carr out. In the past two meetings against them, he threw for seven touchdowns and 550 yards, and led two game-winning drives. However, there are so many other questions that aren't in the Ravens' favor. Can they play well on the road? Can a struggling offensive line slow down Mack? Can they stop the run and generate pressure against a stout offensive line? You feel better about their chances with no Carr, but it's going to take more than that for them to win and break a two-game losing streak.