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Thursday Night Preview: Ravens Have It Covered

This is it – the end of the NFL regular season is only weeks away.  While wins at this point don’t matter so much in terms of who is in the postseason action, they still matter to teams looking to get a better pick in the next draft.  As the Baltimore Ravens take on the New York Jets tonight at home, in the last Thursday Night Football game of the season, a win would help both teams and the Jets are going to try to put up a solid fight.

Ravens vs Jets Thursday Night

The Ravens want a top seed in the AFC postseason competitions, and a win tonight will help them reach that goal.  If the Jets win, though, it gives them a good position for a top-ten draft pick, which, since this season has been a dud, could make a huge difference next year.  This game could turn into a brawl before the night’s over.

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The Ravens are hoping that Lamar Jackson will be well enough to play on Thursday night, but even if the possible MVP quarterback hasn’t fully recovered from his quad injury, it wouldn’t be totally devastating.  Robert Griffin III is capable of carrying the team against the Jets.  Even if Jackson were to come in, if only to pick up the 23 yards he needs to break the single-season quarterback rushing record, Griffin will most likely spend a large portion of the night on the field and not on the sidelines.

The Jets could come up with a few surprises tonight.  The Ravens are known to have a dominant rushing offense, but the Jets have also been adept at stopping the run, despite not being strong in other areas.  Baltimore leads the league in everything tied to the rush – rushing yards per game, rush offense DVOA, rush offense EPA, rushing touchdowns and more.  The Jets are going to come out prepared to see the Ravens keep the game on the ground and could cause more than just a couple of headaches.

The Jets are on top of the NFL in fewest yards allowed per rush attempt, as well as rush defense EPA and are second in rush defense DVOA.  They have also only allowed one first down on 17.2% of rush attempts this season.  These stats aren’t reflected in the team’s 5-8 record, but the defense has certainly figured out how to put up the walls every chance they get.

Every chance they got is a better way to put it.  Tonight, the Jets defense will be without safety Jamal Adams, cornerbacks Arthur Maulet and Brian Poole and lineman Quinnen Williams.  Overall, there are 14 players listed on the team’s injury report, of which eight are doubtful or out for the night.  This is going to force them to dig deeper into their box of tricks and find the right combination that can keep their strong defensive record going.

Unfortunately, however, it won’t be enough.  Across the board, the Ravens are the favorite to win on Thursday Night and aren’t expected to see a lot of resistance on the way to the end zone, which is going to happen over and over.  Baltimore is favored in the NFL odds by 16.5 with a point total of 44.5, and are -910 on the moneyline.  The Jets offense is just too weak, and everything screams an easy Ravens victory.  Any action on tonight’s game should be on the spread, with the Ravens certainly walking away with the victory.

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Erik is a writer and a sports nut who has had the good fortune to be able to experience a wide variety of world sports action up close and personal. He enjoys staying on top of the changing world of athletics and capitalizing on his writing skills to offer a unique take on what's going on in the ever-changing athletics ecosystem.

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