Baltimore boasts one of the top rushing offenses in the league thanks to mobile quarterback Lamar Jackson. Although the Patriots have dominated second-year quarterbacks traditionally under Bill Belichick, Jackson is a different animal. He’s shifty and shows a strong pocket presence to elude pressure in the backfield and tacklers in the open field. Not to mention his strong corps of receivers all have great downfield speed.
Defensively, the Ravens are adept at stopping the run themselves. And while their pass defense has been shaky at times, it is bolstered by the acquisition of Marcus Peters in the secondary.
Special teams-wise, Justin Tucker is regarded by many, including Belichick, as the best kicker in the game and perhaps league history. The Patriots will have to do extra on offense to keep the Ravens from getting into field goal range because if they’re close, Tucker will knock one through.
New England Patriots vs Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 8:20 p.m.
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: New England (-3 at -115)
Over/Under: 44.5 (U: -113 | O: -107)
New England Patriots
The Patriots’ defense is built to disrupt a player like Jackson, the only question is whether they will be able to contain him in the backfield. New England will have to play aggressive in order to do this, treating it like any other opponent and not stepping off their game.
But this isn’t just any other opponent. It’s a quarterback who has already rushed for 537 yards and torched Seattle two weeks ago by doing just that — pounding the rock. The Patriots do have the most sacks in the NFL this season at 31 and also lead the league in takeaways with 25 (19 interceptions and six fumble recoveries).
Offensively, New England will have to control the ground themselves using Sony Michel in a big role. This means a big game by the offensive line is necessary to get the run game going. There’s also the possibility of rookie receiver N’Keal Harry joining the fray as he made the trip to Baltimore.
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The Ravens run defense ranks fourth in the league, ahead of New England even, allowing just 84 yards per game. Baltimore has three former Patriots in their defense — Ufomba Kamalu, Cyrus Jones, and Jordan Richards — and while they all play minor roles they can still help game plan for the Patriots offense.
Offensively, if it’s not Lamar Jackson carrying the ball it’ll be Mark Ingram. Through seven games, he has 470 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He’s been known to spring one loose once or twice through his time in New Orleans. After New England’s struggles against Nick Chubb last week, it could be a field day for the duo of Jackson and Ingram.
This game just feels like a repeat of their 2007 encounter in the same field. The unbeaten Patriots nearly fall to the upstart Ravens but a late touchdown secures a win. Or even the controversial 2012 game where the Ravens’ last-second field goal was ruled good despite no clear evidence it went through the uprights.
This will be close, alright. But it’ll be up to the Patriots to make Jackson uncomfortable and force him to throw the ball more than run. New England will need to put a ton of trust into its secondary and its outside linebackers to contain the pocket around Jackson.
As for spread picks, though New England is trending under the total is low this week and they usually go over when playing against the Ravens.
Pick: Undefeated no more. The Patriots fall short in Baltimore by a 24-21 scoreline. Jackson will have a strong game and a late Tucker field goal will clinch a win for the Ravens. So when betting, take the over and Baltimore with the points.