Denver Broncos (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
The Ravens lost in Cincinnati last week, but they remain overrated, favored by 5.5 points this week over the Broncos. The Ravens went 9-7 last season, finished 10th in first down rate, and had the best point differential (+92) of any team that missed the post-season, but they had the they had the benefit of facing 6 backup quarterbacks (Jacoby Brissett, Brett Hundley, Matt Moore, Tom Savage, EJ Manuel, Case Keenum), all of whom except Keenum played terribly last season. Outside of games against backup quarterbacks and two games against the Browns, the Ravens went just 2-6 in 2017.
In 2018, the Ravens opened against a below backup caliber quarterback in Nathan Peterman and blew the Bills out 47-3 week 1, but then lost against a more competent opponent last week in Cincinnati. The Ravens return home this week, but the Broncos are a step up in talent from the Bengals. A 5-11 team a year ago, the Broncos stabilized the quarterback position with Case Keenum this off-season and have started 2-0. They haven’t faced that tough of a schedule, getting the Raiders and Seahawks at home, but I don’t think the Ravens are that much tougher, even if this one is on the road.
Already missing top cornerback Jimmy Smith with a suspension, the Ravens could be without arguably their two best defensive players, nose tackle Michael Pierce and middle linebacker CJ Mosley, who are highly questionable after missing practice all week. I have this line calculated at even and I think there’s a really good chance the Broncos at least keep it within the 5.5 points. This is my Pick of the Week.
Denver Broncos 24 Baltimore Ravens 23 Upset Pick +190
Pick against the spread: Denver +5.5
Confidence: Pick of the Week