NFL WK 9 SUNDAY NIGHT PREVIEW: PATS @ RAVENS

CAN THE RAVENS BE FIRST TEAM TO SLAY GOLIATH IN SUNDAY NIGHT SPECIAL?

VEGAS ODDS:  NEW ENGLAND PATS (-3)  @ BALTIMORE RAVENS  ~  TOTAL: (44 1/2)

Well folks, the Patriots just completed possibly the greatest all around first Half of any NFL Season, winning all 8 games, and putting up stats nobody will match in second half, nor likely Half of a season ahead as well. The Patriots Defense is putting up video game numbers. They have 31 sacks, 19 interceptions, 6 fumble recoveries and they have allowed only 10, 13, 3, 13, 13, 6, 0 and 13 points. And not all of those points allowed actually went against the Defensive Unit while on the field. A few Int for TD’s and fumbles for TD put up some of those points.  The Pats D allows (7.6) points per game, is 2nd in yards allowed (234), 2nd in pass yards allowed (148) and 4th in rush yards allowed (85.2). They have at least one interception in every game. This will be by far the toughest test of young Ravens QB L. Jackson’s career.

Ravens QB Jackson is running wild so far, with 576 rushing yards (6.94 yards per rusg) on just 83 rush attempts. That’s more than the Pat’s #1 rusher, Sony Michel, who has 464 rush yards, on 140 rushes. He is the first QB ever to have 1,600 pass yards and 500+ rush yards in the teams first 7 games. Jackson has been sensational on third downs, rushing for (9.0) yards per carry, converting on 3rd down tries 62% of time. His legs are a weapon not many can, nor will stop this year. He will have to move chains against this Pats Defense, that is very average vs. runs up middle. They are 21st in that department, allowing (4.7) yards per carry. 

Ravens will get a much needed boost tonight as young speedster WR M. Brown returns, and he can at least stretch the secondary from loading the box to overly try to slow down Jackson’s runs. 

The Ravens Defense blitzes more than any other team (48% of all plays) and will actually have an advantage vs. the Pats lone team weakness: OFFENSIVE LINE. You can’t run on the Ravens Defense, (#4 overall vs. Run (84 rypg), but you can pass on them and they have been bad on third downs, allowing Cinci and Seattle to complete (15-26) third down plays. The Pats could be without their best Off Lineman, S. Mason, so the Ravens will have chances to slow down Brady if they can cover long enough to not get burned by their blitzes vs. one of the all time best QB’s vs. the Blitz.

The Patriots are now (14-0) straight up vs. second year QB’s since 2013 (3-0 this season) and this is the lowest Pats line all season (-3). The 3 they faced this season: Allen, Darnold and Mayfield have thrown for just 1 TD combined, with 8 interceptions too. 

The Patriots are (6-2) ATS, the Ravens are just (2-5) ATS. The Patriots have played 6 UNDERS and 2 OVERS. 

FINAL KICK:

Let’s face it, you are dead broke and likely homeless betting against the Patriots over the years. Now due to JacksonMania you are getting cheated a point or so in the point spread. All we hear is the big run plays Jackson has made. You rarely hear he’s been sacked 17x, as he’s not great at reading Defenses and he holds ball way too long on many plays, trying to force a play to happen instantly, rather than play the game out. Pats HC Belichick loves these games vs. young guys, as this is his specialty, his chess match not for the weak.  Jackson is key, and not how good he runs or how he passes, but will he turn ball over trying to force plays to be made? If he can stay patient, be OK punting when needed, the Ravens can hang in there to give the Pats a game. Ravens HC John Harbaugh is (9-2) straight up after a “BYE” week since 2008. He knows how Belichick thinks, and the extra week to prepare likely will bring us a few fun “trick plays” by him. He will also go for it on 4th and 1 at midfield, giving his team all chances to slay Goliath he can. This is Jackson’s toughest test of his career, and he will prove to me he is legit with a great performance today. I’d like to see that first, and bet on him down the road knowing he can pull it off vs. an Elite Defense on Prime time TV. (Patriots are 31-13-2 and Ravens are 11-4 in Prime Time TV games).

Enjoy this very exciting “Bailout Special” Game of Day for week 9 NFL games. I expect this game stays close to the final buzzer.

Have a great Sunday betting the NFL.

God Bless,

Gary Greene