Two teams headed in opposite directions square off in the Week 7 edition of Monday Night Football. The Ravens enter this match with their eyes firmly set on winning the competitive AFC North division and a win over the pesky Jacksonville Jaguars would only bolster their lead. Jacksonville has been one of the league’s worst teams thus far in 2011, although they have shown promise of late and with top prospect Blaine Gabbert coming off an impressive second half performance last week against the Steelers.
Usually playing at home on a Monday night would be a big deal for most franchises, however Jacksonville plays in front of one of the league’s most indifferent fan bases and have yet to even sell out Monday’s game. They constantly are forced to endure relocation rumors, and if the crowd fails to be loud and disruptive against a powerhouse Baltimore squad it could give Joe Flacco and company the comfortable setting they need to shred a vulnerable Jaguars defense.
Ravens vs. Jaguars Spread, Line, and Betting Odds:
Baltimore Ravens -9 (-105)
@ Jacksonville Jaguars +9 (-115)
Over 40 (-110)
Under 40 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bodog.com <– Bet on NFL and get 10% of 1st deposit FREE!
Ravens vs. Jaguars Pick:
This match seems very lopsided on paper, and the fact that these two teams are trending in polar opposite directions, doesn’t really help matters. However to use the old sports cliché, games are played on the field, not on paper, and do not count a motivated, young, and hungry Jacksonville squad out in this one. Gabbert is a solid young quarterback and is only getting better, unfortunately his progress will have to wait a week.
The Jags possess some decent options on offense, all of which should be comfortably negated by the Ravens. Star running back for Jacksonville, Maurice Jones-Drew has had a very nice start to the season, although the Raven’s rush defense is ferocious and incredibly difficult to exploit. Expect the Ravens to nullify the ground game of Jacksonville and essentially place the game in Gabbert’s hands. Though Gabbert will surely one day be a solid NFL quarterback, I’m not sure I trust him in a primetime game going up against the likes of Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Haloti Ngata. The Ravens will get to Gabbert throughout and make his inexperience show. Look for a couple interceptions, and perhaps a score from one of the sport’s most opportunistic defensive units.
Jacksonville will by no means roll over, and will exude gumption, but the class and experience of the Ravens will prevail. Ravens’ bench boss John Harbaugh is still upset over his team’s poor red-zone efficiency of late and will look to work on coming away with seven points, opposed to threes against an inferior opponent. Finally, this will be an unfamiliar situation for an inexperienced and young Jaguars side. They’ll no doubt be pumped up for Monday Night Football, but the opponent, spotlight, and national attention may make matters worse for a Jacksonville team that will certainly have their hands full with one of the best teams in the league.
The spread currently sits at nine points, and is a lot to lay with a road team in a primetime game, but I cannot see the Jaguars moving the ball against the Ravens. Baltimore is a focused squad, with their sights solely set on obtaining a division crown and a top seed for the AFC playoffs. They’ve already been surprised once this year in Week 2 against the Titans and have vowed they’ve learned from their mistakes. Moreover, they are definitely not happy with their play thus far despite standing at a 4-1 record. They have holes in their game right now, and will look to correct them and take out their frustrations on a sorry Jacksonville squad. Take the Ravens in a Monday Night massacre in northern Florida.
PICK = Ravens -9 (I highly recommend you enter your email at the top of this page to get our picks weekly)