Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens throws before the preseason game against Washington on August 28, 2021. Scott Taetsch/Getty Images/AFP
On Monday night, the Las Vegas Raiders finally get to open Allegiant Stadium to fans for a game that counts, when they host the Baltimore Ravens. The Raiders were only 2-6 in their new building a year ago, but they started out with a win on a Monday night against New Orleans.
They can they repeat the feat against one of the best teams in the league. Let’s check out the NFL odds for this one!
Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Monday, September 13, 2021 – 08:15 PM EDT at Allegiant Stadium
The Ravens are a four-point favorite at many of the sports betting sites. This is the first time these teams have met since November 25, 2018, when Lamar Jackson, a rookie, was making his second start.
While his 58.4 passer rating that day is still the second-lowest game of his career and it was one of five times he has thrown multiple interceptions, the Ravens won 34-17 behind a strong running game and defense.
After a series of horrific injuries, will they have the elements to win in 2021?
Trap Game for Baltimore
While the Ravens are coming off a very disappointing 17-3 playoff loss to the Bills, the fact is beating Kansas City should still be on top of this team’s to-do list in the AFC if they are to get to a Super Bowl.
The Ravens host the Chiefs in Week 2 on Sunday night in what should be one of the biggest games of the early season, but they cannot overlook the Raiders in this one.
The Raiders pulled off one of 2020’s biggest upsets with a win in Kansas City, making it the best win they’ve had under Jon Gruden since he returned as coach in 2018.
Including the playoffs, Lamar Jackson is 31-10 as a starter with phenomenal stats so far. His ten losses so far have some troubling trends that could impact his long-term success in Baltimore.
Jackson is 0-3 against the Chiefs, 1-3 in the playoffs, he’s also 4-9 when opponents score more than 21 points, and 5-8 when he throws at least 28 passes.
The Ravens are not built for shootouts or needing to make comebacks after falling behind early. This team still wants to run the ball and play great defense to win games, and it works against most of the league due to Jackson’s unique ability to run.
Including the playoffs, Baltimore has rushed for at least 110 yards in 35 consecutive games, trailing only the 1974-76 Steelers (37) for the longest streak in NFL history.
Baltimore has also rushed at least 90 yards in 43 consecutive games since Jackson’s debut in November 2018. For the longest streak of NFL history, this is only a short distance behind the 43-game streak held by the 1983-1986 Bears (45).
Since 2018, when the Raiders allow at least 130 rushing yards to a playoff team, they are 0-9 and lost by an average of 15.9 points.
Jon Gruden will be fired as head coach. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP
Unfortunately, the Ravens have lost running backs J.K. Dobbins (torn ACL) and Justice Hill (Achilles) to season-ending injuries. That would have been no big deal, but then on
Thursday, Gus Edwards went down with an apparent ACL injury too. If Edwards is indeed unable to run for the season, we will have serious problems with our running back room.
Edwards has rushed more than 700 yards in the past three seasons, including a 118-yard performance in 2018 against the Raiders. He also averages 5.0 yards per carry in each season.
He could have been the leading back, for sure. Now, that onus falls on Ty’Son Williams and the team also signed veteran Le’Veon Bell, though he has not been a threat in years. The Ravens also added Devonta Freeman, while Latavius Murray can still be reached if needed.
Every day, running backs are a surprise hit for teams. Ravens should be considered the best team to develop a runningback. After all, Edwards was an undrafted free agent. This team relies on the run more than anyone, but Jackson’s unique ability to run for over 1,000 yards a season should soften the blow of this.
He must also improve his passing in his fourth season.
The Ravens could have a difficult season if they fail to adapt to this new backfield. Jackson will be under pressure to meet touchdown drives if Derek Carr is not on the Raiders. The team’s terrible build-up to the season opener was completed by Marcus Peters, cornerback.
Since returning in 2018, head coach Jon Gruden has led his Raiders to a record of 3-18 (.143) SU and 6-15 (.286) ATS against playoff teams. The Raiders lost 16 of those games by at least one touchdown. Two-thirds of them lost by more than 14 points.
I still like the Ravens as a playoff team, though they may take a step back with the hit to their running back depth.
I don’t trust the Raiders enough to improve their defense. Jackson has led the Ravens to at least 20 points in all but one of his regular-season starts, and that was a 23-17 loss in heavy rain in New England last year.
Only five of Jackson’s 31 wins have come by a margin smaller than five points. He is a man I can trust to win against this defense, lead the Ravens to victory and cover my NFL picks for Week 1.
NFL Pick: Ravens -4 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.
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