This is a copy of the Niners v Ravens game from my site, but with it being the biggest game of the year so far I feel it deserves a spot on here too. Other tips to follow in a minute!
49ers +5.5 @ Ravens: 45
49ers; 10-1, NFC #1 seeds currently
The 49ers destroyed the Packers at home last week and restricted Aaron Rodgers to 104 yards, 43 of them on 7 targets to Devante Adams. They were getting constant pressure on Rodgers because their defensive line is elite. They've got a lot of 1st round talent there with Bosa, Buckner, Thomas, Armstead have all been great, as well as Dee Ford although he misses out again in this one. I think inside pressure will be the key for them in this one as the Ravens have lost their pro-bowl level centre for the season. The LB corps is good too led by Fred Warner who's been good for a couple of years now and the secondary has Richard Sherman still locking players down frequently. It's a great unit ranked as #2 vs the pass and #16 vs the run this year.
Offensively they've got the best schemer in the business this year calling plays for them, I'll admit I wasn't too confident in Shanahan and Garoppolo coming into this year, but the way they get their pass catchers WIIIIDE open is something to be admired. On the whole they want to be a run first team and have involved all their backs this year with Tevin Coleman being the main man since his return from injury, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson both mixing in as well. Matt Breida is missing again this week through injury, but was running well too earlier in the year. Coleman and Mostert both scored on the ground last week, Wilson has been the RZ back for much of the year too.
The passing game is tough to call. George Kittle is obviously the main target, he's a freak and is playing with a bone chip in his ankle. He had a couple of weeks off with it before returning with a bang last week finishing with half of his QBs passing yards, 129 and a TD for him. I'd have to lean o5.5 receptions for him. Since week 5 though the Ravens haven't allowed more than 40 yards to opposing tight ends and only 2 TDs on the season to the position. Dante Pettis misses out, who cares. Emmanuel Sanders should be good to go and a little fitter than last week. He started on fire after his trade from Denver and should be back towards that level in this, 47.5 his line, Deebo is banged up too 44.5 his line, but he's looked great filling in for Sanders recently. Richie James is a speedster who could get the odd target, and another of “my boys” Kendrick Bourne is effective in the redzone.
All that said I'm STILL not 100% in on Jimmy Garoppolo which seems ridiculous to say given his win record with the Niners. I may be proved very wrong on this one, and admittedly I've not watched every minute of any 49ers game this year. I will be on this one though and it's something I'm looking forward to. The bare stats show he's great, he's had a rating over 100 in 4 of his last 5 games, so I'm sure my apprehension is un-warranted on him. He's got a tough task tonight as the Ravens rank #3 against the pass and have only allowed 3 passing TDs since week 6, no multiple pass TD games, and have an interception in every one of those games.
Ravens; 9-2, Currently #2 seeds in the AFC
The Ravens are rolling and sweeping all and sundry aside in recent weeks. They've been unstoppable on offense due to the fact they're completely different to every team in the league. They run the ball more than any other team, they're aggressive on 4th down and a stat I'll paraphrase (as I can't remember entirely) is that they run out of shotgun twice as much as any other team in the league, a move which has a higher success rate than pretty much any other play. They've scored 30,37,49,41 and 45 points in their last 5 games.
The run game is what their offense is predicated on, and it's been immense. Mark Ingram has 9 rushing TDs this year and is averaging over 5 yards per carry, he's been involved more in the passing game in recent weeks as well with 3 TDs in his last two games there. They've been using Gus ‘the bus' Edwards more recently as well, it could be due to the fact they're blowing teams out, but I think he's earnt more snaps on offense, he's averaging the same 5.2 YPC for them this year.
The passing game is tough to call as it's fairly low volume but ridiculously high success. The 5 game spell that they've scored 30 or more points in each game, the most pass attempts from Lamar Jackson has been 24, and he's thrown for 13 TDs in those 5 games. I'll dig into Lamar in a minute. The main men for him are his tight ends. Mark Andrews being the main recipient with 6 TDs and 643 yards this season from 50 receptions. He's had some huge games and is a YAC monster. Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle also get a fair few looks. Marquise ‘Hollywood' Brown suitably had a good game going back to California last week, he's been struggling to practise fully with a leg injury so it's been tough for him but he's got the pace and ability to get open on any given play which makes him very tough to defend against. Seth Robert, Willie Snead and Myles Boykin round out the WR group. I can't tell you who will get the ball but they've all added to the offense.
For me, Lamar Jackson is the MVP-elect this year. I know that Russell Wilson has better passing figures and is brilliant as well, but it's not all about that is it… The way Lamar plays has been seemingly impossible to stop this year. They smashed the #1 ranked Pats defense at home, Lamar almost single-handedly won the game for them in Seattle, and they've dominated weaker teams this year. He's on target for 1,200+ rushing yards, 3,500 passing yards and hasn't thrown an INT in 6 weeks. He became the youngest player to have two perfect passer ratings in the same season (admittedly vs the Dolphins and Bengals) and only the second ever with Big Ben. His electric on the ground, with the burst on his first few yards getting him open and his long speed something that's tough to defend against.
This should be a fucking beauty to watch. They're two of the best coached teams in the league this year, they're both top 5 against the pass, and middling vs the run. So it makes sense that's where the game will be won.
The 49ers worst defensive games this year have been against mobile QBs, Murray twice and Wilson have both scored the 3 highest points against them this year. That obviously leans it quite heavily towards the Ravens.
It's a west coast to east coast early kick off for the 49ers, a spot where teams tend to travel, but the Ravens are on a short-week coming back from the west coast as well. It looks like it's going to rain the entire game which suits the Ravens as well, they're far more used to playing in 3 degrees and rain.
I've got to lean to the Ravens covering the spread and probably a lean to the under on the total with the expected weather.
I think just the one bet on this, just enjoy the game!
Gus Edwards o28.5 rush and rec. yards – 1.83 (365/Skybet)