Baltimore Ravens (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
NFL Week 3
September 25th 2016 /Time: 1 PM EST
Where: EverBank Field Jacksonville, FL
by Jason Green, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ravens -1
Over/Under Total: 47
Many thought this season would be the one where the Jags would take a step forward from being the leagues laughing stock. Well, that has not been the case so far, as after playing admirably at home in their season opener in a 4-point loss to the Green Bay Packers they were blown out last week struggling on both sides of the ball in a 38-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
The Ravens are at 2-0 and tied with the Steelers atop the AFC North, but they really have not been impressive as of yet. They beat the Buffalo Bills in their opener in a less than stellar 13-7 game and then last week they stayed in the ranks of the unbeaten with a 5-point win over the weak Cleveland Browns. Still, they have yet to lose and are 1-point road betting favorites this Sunday in the Sunshine State. With how long the Jags have been a bad team seems hard to believe they hold an 11-8 all-time edge over the Ravens.
Baltimores defense is the main reason they are 2-0, as their offense does not rank in the top 15 in the league in passing or rushing yards per game. OK, so Baltimore does rank 1st in the league in pass defense, but they faced the Bills and the Browns, which are 2 teams not known for their aerial attack. That may change this Sunday, as they face Blake Bortles, who has been one of the bright spots this season for Jacksonville, and leads an offense that ranks 5th in the NFL in passing yards per game.
Yeah, Bortles does have 3 picks, but he has not been given a lot of time in the pocket from a poor offensive line. On top of that he has had to do it all since the Jags rank dead last in the NFL averaging a paltry 58.5 rushing yards per game. RB TJ Yeldon has to help his QB out and he may do just that in this game facing a Ravens run D that ranks 16th in the league and gave up 145 rushing yards to the Browns.
Joe Flacco has been pretty solid so far and in the win over the Browns last week he passed for 302 yards with 2 TD, but he did have 2 picks. He does not have a deep WR corps, but has Mike Wallace and Steven Smith Sr. as well as TE Dennis Pitta, who leads the team in receiving yards. Jax gave up 319 passing yards in the San Diego loss, but they have also really struggled defending the run. That run defense ranks 25th in the league, but may improve upon that stat facing the Baltimore RB duo of Justin Forsett and Terrance West. Neither of these guys has over 80 rushing yards on the season and neither is averaging over 3.3 yards per carry.
The Jags have covered the spread in 4 of their last 5 games facing the Ravens However, they have failed to cover in their last 4 games overall and in their last 33 home games they have a less than stellar betting record of 10-22-1 ATS.
Not only have the Ravens covered in both of their games this season, but they have covered in their last 4 games overall as well as in their last 5 road games.
With the QBs being the strength of each teams offense pressure the signal caller will be key in this game. So far on the season the Ravens have tallied 5 sacks and the Jags have 4.
Hard to believe I am saying this, but I am going to take the Jags in this game. The Ravens have beaten a couple of weak teams and Bortles will have a solid game, as Jacksonville will notch their first win of the season handing the Ravens their first loss.
Jasons Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Jaguars +1
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