John Warner analyzes tonight’s MNF matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles rams and offers up his favorite bets (including props) for the game!
Week 12 concludes a dismal slate with the best matchup of the week between the Ravens and Rams. Leading MVP candidate Lamar Jackson takes on one of the best defenses he will face all season, and certainly the best defensive player he will see all season in Aaron Donald. The Ravens have to keep pace with the Cheatriots if they want a shot at home field throughout the playoffs. The Rams are chasing a playoff spot and essentially have to win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive with the depth of the NFC this season.
Baltimore has been a revelation this season, setting the Roger League world on fire with six straight wins since their loss to the Browns on the road. Lamar Jackson has been virtually unstoppable, a nightmare for opposing defenses. Credit to John Harbaugh for embracing his roster and building an offense that caters to his young QB’s strengths. Too often we will see coaches demand the player adjust to their system, but that’s just not what good head coaches do.
Baltimore has a top 5 offense in three important metrics: yards per play, 3rd down conversion rate, and red zone TD rate. Baltimore also has the most progressive coaching staff in the league, with Harbaugh hiring a 25-year-old to aid him with in-game decisions in regards to when its optimal to go for it on 4th down (most of the time) and when to go for two (most of the time). A bunch of old school morons pointed to this in their Week 3 loss to KC and said they were chasing points. Oddly enough, they’ve been silent the last month and a half!
On the other sideline you have Sean McVay. Everyone who’s shared a room with McVay got a coaching job last offseason and he was considered a revolutionary after taking the Rams to the Super Bowl at the age of 33. Incredibly, he has turned his back on what made him such a success in the first place, and has been very conservative in his decision making this year. Can part of that be that he is hampered by the front office giving out monster contracts to Jared Goff and Todd Gurley this past offseason when they didn’t have to? Probably! But he’s certainly not blameless here.
Los Angeles has regressed mightily this season on both sides of the ball. The high-flying offense of last season is nowhere to be found this year with LA firmly in the middle of the pack in the big three offensive categories. Fortunately for the Rams in this matchup, Baltimore also has a league average defense. However, Baltimore’s defense has allowed 21 or more points just 3 times so far this season.
LA can certainly move the ball tonight and they will absolutely have to sustain long drives if they hope to keep up with Lamar. LA’s calling card all season has been their defense, which ranks top 5 in YPPA. They’ve been grinding out games all season, no longer blowing teams out from the beginning like last year. The key to the game for LA is going to be getting Baltimore off the field on 3rd down. If they can manage to keep Lamar from scrambling too much, they have an excellent shot.
I’m looking for LA’s defense to slow down Lamar just a bit tonight. I’m not sure if they will be able to keep him at bay long enough to win the game, I don’t think they have the horses to keep up. I’m looking for Jackson to flex his MVP muscle and go back to Baltimore with another win under his belt.
- Baltimore -3 -115
- Justin Tucker points o4.5 -140 (.5x)
- 17-35 -15.6x