In horse racing, we’d say the Raiders are stepping up in class this week.
They go from the Denver Broncos to the Kansas City Chiefs, and there is one constant: They are a home underdog again, catching 7 or 7½ points.
The explosive Chiefs scored 40 points in a victory at Jacksonville in Week 1. Yes, they lost talented wide receiver Tyreek Hill to a shoulder injury, but the frequently injured Sammy Watkins stepped up in Hill’s absence. He caught nine passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns.
The Raiders have serious injury concerns in their secondary. Talented safety Johnathan Abram is out for the season after undergoing shoulder injury Friday. It remains to be seen what the Raiders will get from cornerback Gareon Conley, who is listed as questionable with a neck injury.
If the Raiders upset the Chiefs, it will be the first time that they’ve won two in a row since Jon Gruden returned as coach.
The game figures to be the final NFL one played on a dirt infield. The Raiders leave on an extended trip after the Kansas City game, taking them to Minnesota, Indianapolis, London, Green Bay and Houston before they return to Oakland in November. By then, the baseball season will be over and the infield will be sodded.
Ravens should roll again
Staggering numbers highlighted Baltimore’s 59-point eruption at the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 — 265 yards rushing and 379 yards passing. Second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson threw more TD passes (five) than incompletions (three).
Last season, the Ravens didn’t crack 500 total yards in any game. Their new offensive coordinator is Greg Roman, who was San Francisco’s coordinator when the 49ers played the Ravens in the Super Bowl seven years ago. Ravens coach John Harbaugh remembered the good job Roman did in coaching up quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his brother Jim, the 49ers’ coach at the time. Uniting Roman with Jackson was a no-brainer, and Jackson is a far superior downfield passer to Kaepernick.
Next up for the Ravens is Arizona, which surrendered 27 points and 477 yards in tying the Detroit Lions last week. This figures to be a long Sunday for the Cardinals’ defense. Their best player, cornerback Patrick Peterson, is serving a six-game suspension for PED violations.
Brent Musburger’s betting column appears Saturday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He is host of “My Guys in the Desert” weekdays from 2 to 4 p.m. on VSiN.com, SiriusXM 204 and 920 AM The Game.