The 9-2 Ravens bring their seven-game winning streak home to defend the 10-1 San Francisco 49ers. The Niners only loss came on November 11th when they lost at home to the Seahawks in a close one. This figures to be the best NFL match up of the weekend and it surprises me that the NFL did not flex this game to 4:30 as these teams are the best of their respective conferences. San Francisco has been dominant from the start of the season and many of the pundits kept waiting for them to come back to earth, but their stifling defense and exceptional running game have proven to be a lethal combination for their opponents. To put this Niners defense in perspective – they are giving up a miserly 248 yards per game and their secondary is the best in the league giving up just 137 yards which is ranked first by a margin of 21 ypg. In contrast, the Ravens give up a 100 more passing yards per game. Statistically, the Ravens are not a top ten defense, but they are playing like one of late – and I think they will be in the top ten before the season ends. All the changes the Ravens have made over the past two months on the defensive side have them better and they seem to be improving week over week.
Sunday’s game will tell you a lot about how good the Ravens offense really is as compared to the rest of the league. In my opinion the Niners have the very best defense in the league and not just because they are ranked as number one but because they can overwhelm their opponents with pressure and speed. While I think that the Patriots defense is very good – I don’t think they have anywhere near the same talent in the front seven. I expect the Niners to come into M&T Stadium with a lot of confidence and with something to prove – they won’t come here looking nervous because they will be ready with their A game. They showed no nerves against Rogers and the Packers last week and thumped them 37 – 8 in Lambeau.
The Ravens offense is rolling on all cylinders and so far they have proven that they can run and score on anyone – and I do mean anyone. Some of the best defensive minds in the NFL have not been able to stop this Ravens offense and at this point in the season they have plenty of tape to look at to figure it out. Lamar Jackson is multi-talented and when you have to account for him in the backfield it limits your ability to plug holes – and so far no one has found the key to stopping this offense. With an outstanding secondary, the Ravens best chance to move the ball will be on the ground where the Niners are ranked 19th against the run and 25th for yards per carry rendered. If the Ravens play the way they have the past month they should have 200 plus yards on the gound. I expect them to pound the ball between the tackles and to run off the edges when they have daylight.
As we all know, the Ravens went to LA last week and they humiliated the Rams at home beating them senseless. The Ravens coaches have done a brilliant job game planning these past many weeks and they will need their best Sunday to beat San Francisco. Football is a simple game and it is often won in the trenches. The Ravens O line is a bit dinged up and with Skura done for the season so you do worry a bit about how they will hold up against the Niners front four. The Ravens will run the ball with lots of formations and hopefully keep the Niners off balance. Coach Roman is smart and he will take what he is given and hopefully that will equate to long sustained drives that end in touch downs. The Ravens defense will work to stop the run and to keep Garoppolo confused to the coverages and if they can do this, they will get an interception or two by the end. I can’t wait to watch this game because it really does pitch the best offense against the best defense – and in those game something will have to give. I am betting on the Ravens to prevail in this game and so are the odds makers who have the Ravens by 5 points because the Ravens have the better offense and thus far have been able to score on everyone. The over under is set at 46, I like the Ravens to cover the 5 on the spread and since my prediction totals 46 points I will say take the over. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.
Baltimore Ravens hosting the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, December 1st at 1:00 PM Odds Ravens by 5
Score Ravens 27 Niners 19
Turnovers Plus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 221 Niners 111
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 174 Niners 178
• Marcus Peters continues his solid play with another interception
• Judon gets a sack and blocked pass
• Ingram has two TDs
• Refs make terrible calls
Keys to the Game
• Stop the Niners run game
• Run the ball and dominate TOP
• Convert in the RedZone
• Win win win the turn over battle