We’ve got a showdown of two mobile quarterbacks in New England this Sunday night when Lamar Jackson and the 6-2 Ravens take on Cam Newton and the 3-5 Patriots.
Week 10 Prime Time Picks: Ravens (-7) vs Patriots (+145) O/U 43 – All lines via DraftKings
Prime Time Picks: 10-7
Patriots Looking For Back-to-Back Wins
New England had lost four games in a row before they were barely able to squeak past the now 0-9 Jets on Monday Night Football. The Pats were down most of the game, and after 3 quarters, they faced a 27-17 deficit. However, they were able to dominate the 4th quarter, and Nick Folk kicked a game-winning 51-yard field goal as time expired to win the game 30-27. The Patriots had the ball for just about the entire quarter, as New York had the ball for just 1:24 and ran just 4 plays for 3 yards. Yikes. On paper, it seemed that New England would have easily won the game, as they out gained the Jets 433-322, racked up 30 first downs and allowed just 18, and dominated time of possession 36:58 to 23:02. If the Patriots could dominate like that and just barely escape the winless Jets, they will have to really step it up if they want to beat the 6-2 Ravens.
Baltimore Has Won 4 of 5
Baltimore has won four of their last five, with the loss coming at home to the undefeated Steelers by a score of 28-24 two weeks ago. The Ravens got back in the win column last week, as they defeated the Colts on the road 24-10. The Ravens trailed 10-7 at halftime, but were able to shutout Indianapolis in the second half, and Lamar Jackson had 228 total yards of offense. Their defense forced two turnovers, including a scoop-and-score by Chuck Clark. They were able to wear down Indy in the second half and control the clock with their running game.
Similar Offensive Attacks
Both of these teams rely heavily on the run. Baltimore is the top rushing team in the league, averaging 170.1 yards per game. They regularly use three different running backs, and they are all effective. Gus Edwards (75 carries, 328 yards, three TD), rookie J.K. Dobbins (52 carries, 297 yards, two TD) and Mark Ingram (50 carries, 225 yards, two TD), create a lot of problems for opposing defenses. And that isn’t even bringing Lamar Jackson into the equation, who is leading the team with 79 carries for 469 yards and three scores on the ground. The Patriots are not far behind Baltimore, as they have the #4 rushing attack in the league, averaging 159.6 yards per game. Cam Newton leads the way with 69 carries for 314 yards and 8 TD’s. Damien Harris has a YPC average of 5.6, but only has one touchdown on the season. Rex Burkhead has found the end zone three times, and is averaging 4.1 YPC. Both of these teams will keep it on the ground a lot, as their passing offenses rank near the bottom of the league. Baltimore is 31st with 176.9 passing yards per game, and New England is 28th with 202.3.
Ravens Have Defensive Advantage
With both teams relying so much on the run, I think this game will come down to who can stop the run the best. That points to the Ravens. Baltimore is giving up 101.8 yards per game on the ground (8th), whereas New England is giving up 131 (25th). The Ravens have been able to limit opposing rushing attacks, and they will need to do the same in this game. On top of that, Baltimore has the best scoring defense in the league, giving up just 17.8 points per game. The Pats are giving up 24.3 per game, and coming off a week in which they allowed 27 points to the hapless Jets. Baltimore was very strong defensively last week, holding the Colts to 10 points and even adding a defensive score. Defensive advantage goes to the Ravens in this one.
After a decent start to the season, Cam Newton has really fallen off in the past couple of weeks. Newton has not thrown a touchdown pass since September (!!!), and has five interceptions in the last four games. For the season, he has just two touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Not exactly a great ratio to have. Lamar Jackson has taken a bit of a step back from his MVP season a year ago, but he is still playing well. Jackson is 134 of 213 passing for 1,513 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He is most dangerous on the ground, but has been able to exploit defenses through the air as well.
The Ravens have won four of their last five, and the Patriots have lost four of their last five. The Pats could barely get by the winless Jets, and are trending in the wrong direction as they get ready to face one of the top teams in the AFC. I think the Ravens have the advantage on both sides of the ball, as they have four players who can run the ball very well, and defensively, they are much better at stopping the run than New England. When Cam is forced to throw, he has not proven to be very effective (2 TD’s, 7 picks), and has a limited wide receiving core at his disposal. The Ravens can get pressure on the quarterback, as they have 24 sacks this season, as well as four interceptions. Baltimore is +4 in turnover differential this season, and New England is -1. I think the Ravens will give Cam a rough go of it in this one and be able to pressure him and make him uncomfortable. The Ravens are just the better team here, and they usually take care of business against lesser opponents. I’m taking Baltimore to win by at least a touchdown on the road.
Title Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski / USA TODAY Sports