Tom Brady and the New England Patriots face a persistent nemesis, the Baltimore Ravens, as they continue to adapt to life without dominant tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots are listed as 7-point favorites against the Ravens with a 45-point total in the Monday Night Football matchup.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The Patriots are 9-0 straight-up in their last nine games in Week 14 and 6-2 against the spread in their eight most recent games. Since the 2009 playoffs, Baltimore has gone 4-2-1 ATS against New England.
The Ravens are 7-5 SU and 6-6 ATS, on the strength of wins against the spread in four of their last five games. While it’s true they are 2-7 ATS in their last nine games after consecutive ATS wins, the Ravens have tidied up their pass protection in recent weeks. Quarterback Joe Flacco, WR Steve Smith Sr., WR Mike Wallace and TE Dennis Pitta are very prolific when the pass blocking holds up.
New England’s defense, led by CB Malcolm Butler and MLB Dont’a Hightower, is solid at tackling and misses few assignments, but they do have one of the league’s lowest sack rates.
Relying on Terrance West, the Ravens are a dismal 28th in rushing and New England is 10th in fewest rushing yards allowed.
The Patriots, who are 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS, will match Brady and their quick-strike passing attack against a No. 1-ranked Ravens defense. With Martellus Bennett replacing Gronkowski, it might not be so easy for Brady to complete passes in the interior of the secondary, the area that Ravens SS Eric Weddle patrols.
With CB Jimmy Smith now healthy, the Ravens might rely on their Cover Two scheme and force Brady, slot WR Julian Edelman and emerging rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell to play a patient game.
With NT Brandon Williams and NT Michael Pierce clogging the middle to free up ILB Zach Orr, no team is able to rush effectively against Baltimore. How the Patriots deploy rugged LeGarrette Blount and slippery James White in the backfield will be interesting.
While it is a small sample, the Ravens are 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in their last five games on Monday. The total has gone UNDER in seven of the Ravens’ last nine games in December. The total has gone UNDER in six of the Patriots’ last six games as a favorite of seven points or more.
(c) CalvinAyre.com – Read entire story here.