Game time: 4:25 p.m. ET, Oct. 3, 2021
Venue: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
Where to watch: CBS
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Broncos -1; O/U 44.5; Broncos -115, Ravens -105
BetMGM: Broncos -1; O/U 44; Broncos -115, Ravens -105
Caesars: Broncos -1; O/U 44; Broncos -115, Ravens -105
Jim Feist won his NFL Thursday Night Total Annihilator last week with the Panthers and Texans UNDER, part of a 4-3 overall week 3 of the NFL. He's ready to start this week with another of those Total Annihilators. Catch Jim’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.
Ravens - Broncos preview and analysis
Ravens: won 19-17 at Lions in Week 3
Broncos: won 26-0 vs. Jets in Week 3
Imagine someone just woke up from a coma after being asleep for a year. They ask about the current landscape of the NFL, and you mention the Baltimore Ravens are facing the Denver Broncos on Sunday in Mile High.
They ask how bad the Denver Broncos are, you tell them they're 3-0 with Teddy Bridgewater as the starting quarterback. They ask if Lamar Jackson is still a force, you say yes and he's even got a win over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs under their belt.
Said coma friend is likely ready to fall back into one considering you just said the Broncos are 3-0, but such is this weird life in the NFL. The first-place Broncos, tied with the first-place Las Vegas Raiders, are head of the last-place Chiefs in the AFC West.
The books are so tight with this game that Denver opening as a one-point favorite at home is indicative to how good the Broncos have been. It might as well be a pick 'em, but keep an eye on this line as it goes later into the week.
Now, I will be one to pump the breaks a bit because Denver's ability to win, albeit more successful than last year, also needs to come with an asterisk. The Broncos have defeated the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets.
While the fine folks of Denver are readying their torches and pitchforks to wield at me, I will say that the fact the Broncos have been able to win these games at a convincing rate is also promising. If these were one-score wins, it'd be the most unimpressive 3-0 start imaginable.
But the Broncos are doing it while Bridgewater is having one of the best starts to a season of his NFL career, and rightfully deserved. Bridgewater is coming off a 19 of 25 day for 235 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. That's a fine day, all things considered that Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams scored one-yard touchdowns each, and Brandon McManus did the rest by making four field goals.
Against the Jets, that's really all they needed. The Denver defense intercepted rookie Zach Wilson twice and held the Jets to 162 total yards this past Sunday. Von Miller recorded a sack and is the only player in the AFC to have a sack in each of the first three weeks of the season.
But this will be a daunting test for the Denver defense, as it is with any defense if it goes against Jackson and the Ravens. But while there's a case to be made that Baltimore should be 3-0, it's an above-average 2-1 squad coming to Denver. The Ravens are coming off a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions that was only won because of the god-like leg of Justin Tucker nailing a 66-yard field goal.
Outside of that, Baltimore really struggled in Detroit. Jackson had 345 total yards and one touchdown, but also threw an interception. Only 42 of the other yards accumulated by Baltimore did not come from the former MVP. It's hard to do that when injuries constantly plague your running game. Latavius Murray does have a touchdown in two of three games, and the last time he played Denver, he ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
It really is the battle of the unknowns this week and it's so hard to choose. If Denver pulls this off, we're looking at the biggest surprise of the season to this point coming from Vic Fangio's group. The Mile High altitude always plays a factor, and I do believe it will be close. I'm taking Denver in a close one. Broncos by 3
The Ravens are 9-4 against the spread as a road favorite in their last 13 and are 13-2 straight up.
The Broncos are 19-8 ATS in their last 27 as a home dog of three points or less.
Players to watch
Ravens: Tight end Mark Andrews is looking for his straight game of at least five catches with 50 yards. He had five grabs for 109 yards in Detroit last week.
Broncos: Top target Courtland Sutton is looking for his third straight game of at least five receptions. He has three straight games of at least 50 yards against AFC North teams.
Passing: Lamar Jackson -- 761 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Lamar Jackson -- 251 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Marquise Brown -- 235 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Tavon Young -- 1 INT
Passing: Teddy Bridgewater -- 827 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: Melvin Gordon -- 193 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Courtland Sutton -- 210 yards
Defense: Von Miller -- 4 sacks
Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Baltimore Ravens - Denver Broncos prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NFL projections and previews.