Lamar Jackson via Office of the Maryland Governor on Flickr [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)] for AFC Divisional Playoffs

Monday Night Football: Week 12 Preview, BAL at LAR

Could this be a preview of the Super Bowl? Monday Night Football for Week 12 has two standout teams battling for supremacy in their respective divisions. 

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 

Los Angeles, CA

Betting

The Ravens have seen some line movement and appear to have settled as -4.0 favorites (EVEN). I like this number quite a bit, it’s no -3.5 but I won’t complain about EVEN money. This Ravens offense is a beast that the NFL hasn’t seen since the heyday of Newton and Vick. So obviously, I like the Ravens to win this game but it has a chance to be closer than we expect. The difference-maker of this game could very well be Justin Tucker. As for the total, I like the OVER (-105) 47.0 points. Even though we have two great defenses playing, the Ravens offense could go off for 30+ as they have previously. That leaves the Rams offense to score around 20 points and I feel that they have the talent to get there.

Lamar Jackson via Office of Maryland Governor for Monday Night Football
Lamar Jackson via Office of Maryland Governor

Injuries

We have a rather clean injury report this week as the Rams will only miss Rob Havenstein tonight. With Havenstein out, the Rams could fall victim to an impressive Ravens front-7.

As for the Ravens, that aforementioned front-7 will likely be without Michael Pierce which slightly levels the playing field. On the offensive side of the ball, the Ravens have Ronnie Stanley and Chris Moore labeled as questionable. The absence of Moore won’t be too problematic, but if Stanley misses, Lamar Jackson may have to scramble because he has too… not because he wants to.

Rams Offense vs. Ravens Defense

Jared Goff, or West-Coast Ben Roethlisberger, has some pretty bad Home-Away game splits. Thankfully for the Rams, this game is being played at home. He’s still only thrown 11 TD’s this season to pair with 10 INTs. This has contributed to a fairly underperforming Rams unit across the board. It appears teams have figured out the Sean McVay system and are able to attack the weak spots. In an attempt to switch things up, we finally saw Todd Gurley of old last week! With 25 carries, Gurley looked like the workhorse of prior seasons. If this is the trend the Rams were going for, to rest Gurley until now, it’ll work wonders for this offense. The whole field will open up for Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods. At least in theory, maybe not this week.

Jared Goff via Jeffrey Beall for Monday Night Football
Jared Goff via Jeffrey Beall

The Ravens have one of the best defenses in the NFL and create turnovers with ease. Facing the turnover-prone Goff will surely be a positive for the Ravens in this battle. The main reason that the Ravens perform so well on defense is the time of possession their offense creates for them. Since the Ravens are so good at running the ball on offense, their defense doesn’t spend much time on the field.

Ravens Offense vs. Rams Defense

Lamar Jackson is the MVP of the NFL. Congratulations to any preseason bettors that locked in Jackson at incredible odds! Jackson is on pace to shatter not only season-long records set by Michael Vick but also career marks set by Cam Newton. Even if teams can somehow *attempt* to contain Jackson, he has proven to be a capable passer that can beat teams with his arm as well. The only consistent pass-catcher for the Ravens has been Mark Andrews though. Andrews has inserted his name into the upper echelon of talented TEs in the NFL alongside George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz. With Jackson feeding Andrews a majority of the time, it does allow Marquise Brown to work downfield for some shot plays. Not to be lost in the shuffle, the RBs of the Ravens have all seen success sharing the backfield with Jackson. Whether it’s Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, or even Robert Griffin III (Dual-QB options?!?!) the Ravens can pick apart teams with ease.

As for the Rams defense, although solid, they’ve underperformed much like their offense. The resurgence of Clay Matthews is helping create space for Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler Jr to form a lethal trio of pass rushers. Arguably, the best thing the Rams have going for this defense is the addition of Jalen Ramsey to the secondary. Ramsey and Donald are the best players at their respective positions in the NFL and it shows. It’ll be interesting to see how the Ravens attack the secondary with Ramsey lurking on one side of the field during Monday Night Football.

Predictions

Ravens: 28

Rams: 21

Guaranteed Touchdown Scorer: Lamar Jackson (rushing) / Cooper Kupp

Dart Throw Touchdown Scorer: Hayden Hurst / Gerald Everett

Conclusion

Who do you think will win on Monday Night Football tonight? Will this game be a preview of the Super Bowl? Let me know in the comments below! Also, check out the shop and other content by clicking here.

-Mitchell Seefeldt

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