Week 12 wraps up in Los Angeles tonight with one of the best Monday Night Football games of the year. The Baltimore Ravens (8-2, 1st AFC North) visit the Los Angeles Rams (6-4, 3rd NFC West) in this inter-conference showdown. The Ravens are coming off of a 41-7 blowout of the Texans, while the Rams beat the Bears 17-7 at home.
Here is a preview for Ravens-Rams tonight, along with odds and a free pick.
By the Numbers
The Ravens come in with the highest-scoring offense in the NFL. Under MVP-favorite Lamar Jackson, Baltimore has averaged a league-high 34.1 points per game with 203.1 rushing yards per game. Even though they’re just 19th in passing, the Ravens are still second in total yards with 428.6 and first in third down conversion percentage.
On the other side of the football, Baltimore has been pretty good as well. They have allowed 19.6 points per game, the eighth-fewest in the league. Overall they’re 14th in yards allowed (332.9) but are top-10 in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.
While not quite at the same level as last year’s Super Bowl team, the Rams can still score the football. Los Angeles is 10th with 24.3 points per game and 13th with an average of 366.5 total yards. Like Baltimore, there’s a wide gap between passing and rushing, except it’s flipped for the Rams. Sean McVay’s team is seventh in passing yards per game and 21st in both rushing yards and third down conversion percentage.
L.A.’s defense has been pretty solid this season, ranking 11th in both yards allowed (324.6) and points allowed (19.8). They’ve been one of the best teams at stopping the run, allowing just 89.1 yards on the ground on average, the fourth-fewest in the NFL.
1. Can Lamar be stopped? In his first full season as the Ravens starting QB, Lamar Jackson has played a massive role in redefining what a high-scoring offense can look like. The second-year stud has 781 yards and six touchdowns just from running the football. Jackson is also an efficient passer, throwing for nearly 2,300 yards with 19 touchdowns in 10 games. Los Angeles is a team that has done well against the run, but they’ve never faced a threat like Jackson.
2. Donald’s impact. In last week’s contest against the Bears, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had two sacks, bringing his season total to eight. Donald is widely seen as the best defensive player in the NFL, and he will undoubtedly be Baltimore’s number one focus when they’re on offense. Expect lots of outside rushes from Jackson and running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards in an effort to avoid Donald.
3. Peters’ return to L.A. When the Rams acquired Jalen Ramsey from Jacksonville a few weeks ago, they parted with cornerback Marcus Peters by sending him to Baltimore. Peters has made an immediate impact for the Ravens, returning two interceptions for touchdowns during his time there. It’s safe to say he will highly-motivated tonight when he faces his former team.
Baltimore has been one of the healthier teams this season, and is going into Monday’s game with a pretty light injury report. Defensive tackle Michael Pierce is the only one listed as doubtful, with two o-lineman (Ben Powers, Ronnie Stanley) considered questionable.
Los Angeles also has a lighter report, as wide receiver Brandin Cooks will return to action following a concussion from a few weeks ago. Tackle Rob Havenstein and defensive back Darious Williams are the only players officially ruled out for the Rams.
Odds and Pick
The Ravens are favorites on the road tonight, listed at -3.5. There are always questions regarding an East Coast team traveling to the West and vice-versa, and the Rams are now getting better performances out of running back Todd Gurley. But I don’t know if the Rams will be able to fully contain Baltimore’s runners or their tight ends in the middle of the field. So I’m picking the Ravens -3.5 tonight to advance to 9-2 on the season.