We had another winner this weekend with the Steelers -4 over Arizona. I’m pretty happy that we’ve been running on all cylinders lately, 7-2 in our last nine picks here at SpikeEskin.com. Hope everyone made some money along the way (but don’t forget, it’s for amusement purposes only).
So here we are again, another Monday Night is upon us. I wanted to write a 5000 word post comparing the Ravens players to characters from The Wire, but then I remembered that I’m not Bill Simmons, plus someone already did that shtick with the 2011 Phillies players last week (it’s good, go read it). So I guess I’ll just handicap the game without any fluff.
We hit the Steelers game yesterday and also have run off three straight Monday Night winners, and just when I’m right in the middle of a hot streak the NFL sends in The Cooler to shut me down. Baltimore at Jacksonville? Seriously? This game has me very inspired to watch something else.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love the Ravens defense, it’s the best in the league (maybe the best ever?). That, plus the fact that the Jaguars are horrible on offense means it could get ugly for Blaine “Yo Gabbert” Gabbert and friends tonight in J-ville (is that what they call it?). By the way, here’s your ‘No shit, Sherlock’ headline of the week from the Boston Globe: “Ravens’ defense has been tough on young quarterbacks”. Oh, you don’t say. You’re telling me that rookie Blaine Gabbert might be in for a rough night against Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and company? Thanks for the newsflash.
The Jaguars are having a rough season, they are 1-5 this year and Gabbert is 0-4 since taking over as the starter. Yes, they played the Steelers tight last week in Pittsburgh, but they could only muster 209 yards of total offense. Blaine Gabbert got a whopping 109 yards passing. And now he has to face the #1 Ravens defense? Does anyone really expect the Jaguars to get any points? Maybe MJD can break one at some point, but I’m not expecting much.
But the Ravens offense isn’t that exciting either. Joe Flacco? He’s decent but I wouldn’t put the ball in his hands and ask him to win a game for me. It’s really Ray Rice or nothing as far as I’m concerned, and tonight that just might be all the Ravens need.
Let’s quickly run through the stats for this Ravens Defense:
- 1st – Points per game (14.2 points)
- 1st – Total yards allowed per game (270 yards)
- 3rd – Rush yards allowed per game (76 yards)
- 7th – Passing yards allowed per game (209 yards)
If you’ve read this column all season you know I have a hard-on for the DVOA stats from FootballOutsiders.com. And according to the FO Defensive Efficiency rankings the Ravens D is the best, by far. They’re #1 at -29.5 (the lower, the better). #2 is the Jets at -15.3. So they are almost double the Jets’ efficiency. That 14 point gap from #1 to #2 is the same as the gap from #2 to #12. In short, the Ravens are a machine on defense.
Take the Ravens defense stats and also include that the Jags are only scoring 12 points per game (only St Louis is worse) and they have the lowest passing yards per game (137 yards) so you have to wonder if they’ll even score at all.
But the Jaguars defense is decent in their own right. Near the top 10 in points per game allowed, yards per game allowed and pass yards per game allowed and they’re 12th in defensive efficiency at Football Outsiders. But their rush defense is not great (115 yards per game, #20) which is why I think we’ll be seeing alot of Ray Rice (probably not a surprise).
And as for Offensive efficiency, the Ravens are 20th, the Jaguars are 32nd (last). So I think you know where this is going.
I like the UNDER 39 points. I truly don’t know how the Jaguars will score points. I really don’t. I guess MJD will see alot of touches? I wouldn’t think Blaine Gabbert will be able to have much time to set up and make decent throws. So since it looks to me like it will be Ray Rice all night for Baltimore and MJD all night for Jacksonville, I’m thinking Ground and Pound and a low scoring game.
Unders have hit in five of six games for Jacksonville, but the Ravens games have gone over in four of five weeks. I think both defenses will play well enough to keep this under the number. I can realistically see the Ravens pitching a shutout, and I don’t think they can put up over 27 points on the Jaguars tonight.
I really hate betting Unders, I think everyone does, it’s like betting the Don’t Pass line in Craps. You’re hoping for nothing fun to happen. I’d much rather bet the Over, sit back, and watch a 42-38 shooting match. But I don’t see that happening on Monday Night. So I’ll have to suck it up and cheer for a defensive chess match.
I’m thinking that the Ravens D shuts ‘em down and both offenses keep the ball on the ground. We’ll see Baltimore get out of Jacksonville with a hard fought win.
But let’s get back to the Ravens as characters from The Wire… don’t fall for the easy choice and make Ray Lewis to be Omar. No way. Ed Reed is Omar. Ray Lewis is Slim Charles. The cool, calm assassin. Always does his job, loyal to the end and never complains. And I’ve never seen Ray Rice in person, but I can’t help but think he would look and act just like Cutty. And Flacco is Prez, no doubt. Ok, I’m done.
How about we say Ray Lewis puts Blaine Gabbert in a vacant (trademark Jason Whitlock) and Baltimore gets out of there with a W. Ravens 24 Jaguars 10? Sounds good to me.
I would have loved to laid the 10 points with the Ravens, but the Jags defense plus homefield plus Monday Night makes me nervous that it could be a tight game, or at least one susceptible to a backdoor cover.
The Line: Ravens -10, O/U 39
The Pick: UNDER 39
I know it was an Eagles bye week but don’t fret, Dallas comes to the Linc next Sunday Night, I can’t wait. Early line has the Birds as three point favorites. Chew on that for a few days and we’ll break it all down on Thursday and Friday.
Let’s keep this train moving with another win.
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