Baltimore Ravens (4-5 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 19 at 1PM ET
Where: Lambeau Field
by Evergreen, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BALT -2.5/GB +2.5
Over/Under Total: 38
With the playoff push in full gear, there are nine teams within two games of a wildcard spot and all need some wins, not only to catch that last playoff spot, but to also stay ahead of pack. There will be plenty of jockeying over the next few weeks as so many of those fringe contenders face off. Baltimore heads to Green Bay this weekend as both teams are eager to stay relevant in their respective conferences. Neither is a strong bet to win their division but both are just one game back of the current wildcard holder so this one is big for both squads. Baltimore should be rested coming off a bye week and Green Bay is fresh off their first win with Brett Hundley at the helm. This game holds one of the lowest over/under totals for the week at 38 and the line is tight so a close, low scoring game is likely.
Green Bay host lost the love from the online betting sites since Aaron Rodgers went out and Baltimore will enter Lambeau as 2.5 point favorites. The bettings is roughly 50-50 with that line so there is a decent chance that number hold throughout the week. The Ravens have only won three of their last twelve against the spread as visitors and the Packers are on a 10-4 ATS run following a straight up win. The Sagarin metrics have these teams right next to each other with Green Bay ranked 14th and Baltimore 15th. The raw data supports Green Bay as a 2-point favorite and the offense-defense predictor likes the Packers as 22-21 winners.
Green Bay has had one of longest injury sheets in the league nearly every week and this week is no different. The main addition is leading rusher Aaron Jones who will miss multiple weeks after injuring his knee. Ty Montgomery re-injured his ribs against the Bears and will be questionable for Sunday. That leaves rookie Jamaal Williams as the only healthy running back and he did run well enough last week to think he can handle the starter’s reps. Fullback Aaron Ripkowski would see a few more carries if Montgomery cannot go and Randall Cobb has some experience with backfield carries as well. Baltimore has the 28th ranked run defense but the Packers may not have enough warm bodies to properly take advantage of that. Brett Hundley tweaked his hamstring during last weeks action and is also questionable for Sunday. The thought is that he is in no danger to miss the game but any limitation to his mobility greatly diminishes his potential effectiveness. Hundley has moved north of 62% for pass completions but he is only averaging 5.7 yards per attempt with two touchdowns in three games. He has two rushing scores and 85 rushing yards over that span. This offense will be in trouble if he is confined to the pocket. The Packers also are allowing the 4th most sacks so Hundley needs his wheels to evade.
Joe Flacco has a veteran presence but he is currently piloting the worst passing offense in the league. There have been some signs of life over the few weeks for the Ravens offense and they may get a huge lift with the return of Danny Woodhead. The passing-back is still uncertain for the game but his presence is meaningful given Javorious Allen has led the Ravens in receptions since Woodhead was injured in week two. Green Bay is 20th in pass defense but have allowed 326 yards passing over the last three games. Baltimore is 10th in rush offense with Green Bays run defense at 17th. Alex Collins is leading the NFL at 5.6 yards per rush and has done a lot of his work against an extra man in the box. If the Baltimore passing game gets going, Collins should see success against softer fronts. Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace have underperformed for much of the year but Maclin (Q-shoulder) has a nice matchup against Damarious Randall in the slot.
Baltimore has long had one of the premier defenses in the league and this season is no different. They enter 8th in points allowed at 19 per game with two shutouts already this year. They have the third best pass defense in terms of yards allowed and have crossed the three-sack mark in six contests. Their 13 interceptions lead the league and they stand a good chance of holding that lead against Hundley who has thrown four picks in just over three games. Despite a relatively anemic offense, the Ravens have been able to win the time of possession battle and that is a key to keeping their defense fresh. Green Bays defense has wilted without Rodgers providing cover and have slipped to 24th in total yards allowed. Whichever team controls of offensive side will greatly help their own defense.
Green Bay was able to push the pause button on the demise of their season with that win against the Bears. Hundley looked improved in certain areas and there is now a little hope that the Packers can keep this thing afloat until Rodgers returns. They need to win games like this, especially at home, considering Baltimore is a flawed team. The ailing Green Bay defense faces a team second from the bottom in yards gained so Dom Capers bunch is really in trouble if Flacco is able to move the ball through the air. Mitchell Trubisky went for 297 yards against the Packers secondary last week so it is not out of the question that Baltimore has the better defense and offense this Sunday. Hundley needs to continue to improve his connections with Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson. He seems to have a grip on where Cobb will be out of the slot but utilizing his elite outside options will make Green Bay a viable offense overall. Hundley did find Adams on a deep sideline throw last week but that is the only time the Packers have been able to connect on a deep one since Rodgers went out. Baltimore is holding opposing QBs to an average QB rating of 67 so Hundley has a tough matchup ahead.
There is no where to go but up for the Baltimore offense. Flacco has been mired in the worst slump of his career but the Ravens are coming off a bye and are as healthy as they have been since breaking camp. Flacco can use his backs and tight ends for easy throws and the run game should be effective enough to set up third and short scenarios. That is a positive for a team that was consistently behind the chains for most of this season. Green Bay is a bend-dont-break defense but that method is not helpful when the offense is not scoring. The Packers have reached 20 points just once since Hundley took over and one of their touchdowns came as time expired against the Lions. The Vikings smothered Green Bay after they knocked Rodgers out of the game and this Baltimore defense can do much of the same. Mike McCarthy has had a month to tweak the offense overall but the injuries to the offensive line and now the running backs have Packers dealing from a very short deck. Baltimore is not good but they have their playmaking pieces in place in more spots than Green Bay does at the moment. Hundley has not proven he can leverage Nelson and Adams against the defense and without that element, Green Bay is not a good bet to move past 17 points this week. To be clear, besides missing Rodgers, Green Bay is without their #1 offensive lineman, their preferred starter at running back and lost their #1 tight end as well. There is too little to hang their hat on at this point and the Lambeau crowd can only take them so far. Baltimore get a close W by a 20-16 score.
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