The red-hot 8-2 Baltimore Ravens head west to Los Angeles this week to do battle on Monday Night Football with the Rams. Baltimore is coming off a monster 41-7 win against the Texans and has won six straight games. The Rams have significantly underplayed projections for them in 2019, but remain 6-4 and still in the playoff picture in the NFC.
The Ravens are 3-1-1 against the spread on the road this season, and the Rams are 4-1 at home against the spread. The Rams are 3-2 straight up at the Coliseum this season, every team’s home away from home. With the Rams offense sputtering and the Ravens firing on all cylinders, this game won’t be the shootout that everyone thought it would early in the season. The Ravens are favored by three points in the matchup, with the O/U set at 46.
Weathering the Storm
Los Angeles has only scored 29 total points in the past two games, quite the opposite of the elite offense we saw a season ago. While head coach Sean McVey is happy to shoulder most of the blame, he can’t make the plays for his guys. The offensive line has been pedestrian, to say the least. Quarterback Jared Goff has spent much of the season on the ground thus far.
Although Goff hasn’t had much of a chance to throw from a clean pocket this season, he hasn’t been great even when given the chance. That being said, it can be extremely difficult to get into any kind of rhythm with this poor of an offensive line. His numbers are down pretty much across the board: passer rating, yards per gain, you name it, and it has likely dropped from a year ago. Not where Goff wants to be in his fourth season.
Jackson Leading the Flock
Starting quarterback Lamar Jackson has led Baltimore on a path that seems destined to end in a deep playoff run this season. Jackson remains on pace to beat Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record by a quarterback of 1,093 yards. Jackson currently sits at 788 with six games yet to play. When your second-best rusher is your starting running back, and that’s Mark Ingram, good things are bound to happen.
The mid-season addition of Marcus Peters has seemed to have worked wonders for Baltimore’s defense as well. It has slowly but steadily improved across the board all season. Peters should be anxious to face his former team, as he said the trade was completely unexpected. Peters likes to take chances, and he knows McVey and Goff well, so don’t be surprised if the ballhawk finds one of Goff’s deep balls in this contest.
Time of Possession
This is what I believe this game will come down to, time of possession. Baltimore’s ground game is exceptional at controlling the pace of the game, while McVey’s offensive genius may work to counteract that. Both teams have been money from the red zone this season, scoring over 60 percent of the time. The question will be, who can get there?
The answer is Jackson against any defense you put in front of him. The Rams’ rushing defense is actually pretty good, but if their offense fails to control the clock, they’re going to be on the field for a long time on Monday night. The pick here is the Ravens to win on the road and cover the spread.
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