Matchups Week 3: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

Ravens Patriots

Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at New England Patriots (1-1)

Opening Line: Patriots +3.

Game Total: 43.5.

Team Totals: Patriots (20.25), Ravens (23.25)

Weather: Outdoors, chance of rain and thunderstorms. 

The Line Report

  •         This line opened as Patriots +3.
  •         This line has moved to Patriots +2.5 as of Thursday night.
  •         DraftKings Pick’Em has the Patriots +3.5.
  •         Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Patriots +2.5.
  •         This total opened between 43 and 43.5 points.
  •         This total settled at 43.5 points as of Thursday night.

Notable Injuries

Patriots: WR Jakobi Meyers (Questionable), CB Jalen Mills (Questionable), S Kyle Dugger (Questionable).

Ravens: RB J.K. Dobbins (Questionable), WR Devin Duvernay (Questionable), LT Ronnie Staley (Questionable), CB Marcus Peters (Questionable), CB Marlon Humphrey (Questionable).

The Patriots Offense vs. Ravens Defense

Entering the season I viewed the Patriots’ offensive line as a not quite fringe top-ten unit. They’ve been better through the first two games than I expected, where I’d now give New England a slight edge in the trenches over Baltimore’s front.

The Patriots don’t exactly have the pass catchers to exploit a weakened secondary. But Ravens CBs Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey are both on the injury report. If either player misses this contest, especially Humphrey, that’s a significant factor.

Notes and Observations

  •         The Patriots are 0-1-1 against the spread this season.
  •         The Patriots are 0-2 on overs this season.
  •       Per The Edge, Mac Jones is 19th in the league in passing yards.
  •         Through the first two games, Damien Harris has 24 carries and 5 targets to Rhamondre Stevenson’s 17 carries and four targets. However, Stevenson has run more routes (26 to 17) and we can reasonably expect his passing game role to expand as the season progresses.
  •         Baltimore has yielded the 17th-most rushing yards and the third most yards receiving to running backs this season.
  •         After being destroyed by Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle last week, Baltimore has given up the most yards receiving on the most receptions to wide receivers this season.
  •         Jakobi Meyers leads the Patriots in routes run (61), target share (29.7%), and team air yards share (35.8%).
  •         Baltimore has allowed the 11th-fewest yards receiving on the 14th-most receptions to tight ends this season.
  •         Both Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are seeing considerable playing time with mild usage to this point. 

The Ravens Offense vs. the Patriots Defense

Lamar Jackson is 1-1 against Bill Belichick’s Patriots in his career. Their first meeting came in 2019, during Lamar’s MVP campaign. I’ve never been more impressed with Jackson than I was in that game, because to that point in his career that was the most opponent-specific game plan he had ever faced. Half a dozen times or more in that contest the Patriots brought pressure (usually in Lamar’s face/from his right side) where they had Lamar dead to rights. Yet Lamar, to put it simply, made plays no one else could have made to escape those situations time and time again. I bring all of this up because, in many ways, this game is very much about Lamar Jackson vs. Bill Belichick’s defense.

From a macro sense, these two teams are a relative draw in the trenches. That said if Ravens LT Ronnie Staley misses this contest as he’s missed the last two, that creates greater opportunities for Patriots edge and former Raven Matthew Judon. Keep in mind that few, if any, quarterbacks in history have impacted pressure management and space in the run game more than Lamar Jackson.

Notes and Observations

  •         The Ravens are 1-1 against the spread this season.
  •         The Ravens are 1-1 on overs this season.
  •         Per The Edge, Lamar Jackson is 12th in the league in passing yards and second in rushing yards among quarterbacks.
  •         The Patriots have allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards and the seventh-most yards receiving to running backs this season.
  •         The Ravens’ backfield has been pretty ugly through the first two weeks, but Kenyan Drake is very in front of this current group with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards both sidelined.
  •         The Patriots have allowed the 20th-most yards receiving on the 17th-most receptions to wide receivers. That’s pretty good, especially when you consider New England faced Miami on opening day.
  •         Rashod Bateman leads Ravens wide receivers in target share (20.7%) and team air yards share (26.3%).
  •         The Patriots have allowed the sixth-fewest yards receiving on the sixth-fewest receptions to tight ends this season.
  •         Mark Andrews is seeing monster usage numbers as he leads all tight ends in target share (31%) and team air yards share (31.1%).

This is What You’re Betting On in Ravens vs. Patriots

A bet on the Patriots is a bet on Bill Belichick’s defense giving Lamar Jackson problems through game planning. New England does not have a high-end offense, but the Patriots run the ball well and Mac Jones is a fast processor. If Jones can play nearly mistake-free football, New England has a shot to win a close, defensive-minded contest against Baltimore. A Patriots win here would look similar to their win against the Steelers last week.

A bet on the Ravens is a bet on Lamar Jackson making plays against one of the better opponent-specific game plans that he’ll see this year. In the vast majority of cases, the consistency and reliability of the Ravens’ football operation is a foundation for any bet on Baltimore. There is no edge on that front against Bill Belichicks’ Patriots. If you’re betting on Baltimore, be sure to check in on their injury report. Some of their best players are entering the weekend with some doubts about their status.

Both of these teams have played Miami already this season. New England lost in a defensive-minded contest where the Patriots did very little on offense. Baltimore lost in a shootout where Tua Tagovailoa absolutely shredded the Ravens late in Miami’s come-from-behind win.

Ravens vs. Patriots Pool Picks

Awards Market Ramifications: Lamar Jackson is an MVP contender.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: This is one of my least favorite games on the slate, so whoever I end up going with I will have them ranked towards the bottom in confidence pools. In my larger-scale winner pools, I could see myself taking a little bit of both teams.

Spread Pool: I tend to avoid games I don’t like in spread pools. That said, in the pick every game ATS pools I’m in, I may take the Patriots as a differentiator (meaning I expect most people to take Baltimore).

Survivor: This game should be avoided in survivor pools.


WATCH MORE: Former NFL Wide Receiver Greg Jennings explains how wide receivers succeed in a run-first offense.


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