If Thursday Night’s opener was the appetizer, and Sunday’s slate the main dish, then Monday Night’s matchup is surely the dessert of an awesome opening week in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens travel to the New Meadowlands to face the New York Jets. The game gets underway at 7 PM EST and pits Jets head coach Rex Ryan against the Ravens, where he worked for years as defensive co-ordinator.
Baltimore comes into the season with high hopes of representing the AFC in the Super Bowl and trying to win it all. The Ravens made solid offseason acquisitions to bolster their offense and make a run at the title. Third year quarterback Joe Flacco has looked poised and calm in leading the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. He now has more weapons to add to incumbent receiver Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap. Anquan Boldin was acquired in the offseason from Arizona and gives Flacco a legitimate #1 receiver as he has posted 1,000+ yards receiving in 5 of his 7 NFL seasons. The Ravens also added Donte Stallworth to the mix but he suffered an injury in preseason and will miss 6-8 weeks. Baltimore quickly adjusted by signing the recently released T.J. Houshmanzadeh to fill Stallworth’s role. He may not be up to speed with the offense by Monday Night though. The biggest weapon in the Raven’s arsenal is Ray Rice, their running back who is small in size but big in talent. In his second season in the league, Rice has over 2,000 combined rushing and receiving yards.
The Jets made all the offseason headlines by being the feature of HBO’s Hard Knocks and signing a stable of veterans to push them over the top. Coach Rex Ryan and many of the players have also been quite confident in predicting the team’s success in 2010. The preseason was a bumpy 2-2 ride that may have illustrated the way to beat the Jets. The offense struggled mightily under second year QB Mark Sanchez and will be forced to rely heavily on the running game with second year pro Shonn Greene and future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield. Teams are sure to key on Sanchez as he struggled with 12 touchdowns and 20 picks a year ago and hasn’t looked much better in the preseason. His progress is the biggest question mark on a team with a ferocious defense led by Darrelle Revis and David Harris, and a strong running game. If Sanchez is just average to above average, the team may well find itself reaching its lofty goals.
Exclusive $250 Free Money Bonus for NFL Betting – Click Here To Learn More
Ravens vs Jets Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Baltimore Ravens +2.5
New York Jets -2.5
Not sure how to read betting odds? Check out our Sports Betting Odds Explained article to learn how.
Ravens vs Jets Prediction for Week One MNF Betting:
Spread Prediction (Top Play): This should be one of the tightest contests played in Week One with a pair of very good defenses and run-first offenses on display. The key to the game for the Jets is whether or not QB Mark Sanchez can exploit the biggest weakness on the Ravens, which is their secondary. I don’t think he will be able to with the pressure put on him by Ray Lewis and company. Top Play Prediction: Baltimore +2.5
Game Total Prediction: The line on the total is set incredibly low at 36 points in this game. Each defense is feared across the NFL and is capable of shutting out an opponent on any given week. That being said, they are both opportunistic defenses capable of scoring touchdowns themselves. I’m expecting one such touchdown to go along with a nice effort from Ray Rice of the Ravens and the two headed monster in the Jets’ backfield. Prediction: Over 36 points.