More Than A Running-Back? New England Patriots vs Baltimore Ravens Betting Breakdown
Not since Michael Vick has the NFL seen as prolific of a running quarterback as Baltimore’s franchise star Lamar Jackson, who leads the league in QB rushing yards with 576 – more than doubling the amount of the next quarterback on the list (Kyler Murray at 279). This unique feature of the Ravens’ offense has been a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators to game-plan for, leading Baltimore to a 5-2 record and a three game lead in the AFC North division. However, this week the Ravens’ opponents – the still undefeated New England Patriots – have one massive advantage over every other team Baltimore has faced: the ability to rely on true man-to-man coverage thereby freeing up more players to stack the box or, as will be the case this week, contain the quarterback.
New England’s defensive stats this season are truly something to behold, giving up the 4th fewest rushing yards per game, the 2nd fewest passing yards per game, and the second fewest total yards per game while also leading the league in takeaways and turnover margin and putting up a nearly unthinkable 0.8 non-offensive touchdowns per game. That’s why I expect the Patriots to continue counting on their single coverage schemes against a Ravens’ receiving core that’s serviceable but far from world class, while spending the bulk of their defensive efforts plugging up the running lanes and forcing Lamar ‘pretty good for a running back’ Jackson to beat them through the air.
And if they can do that successfully, as they’ve done with every defensive strategy they’ve employed this season on route to an 8-0 record, I anticipate the -3.5 Patriots line will end up seeming like incredible value once all is said and done.
EDGE: New England
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