Only in an NFL season like this could we give significant credibility to a (practically literally) defenseless outfit like Tennessee without a more generous lead, but here we are. The Ravens’ defense failed to defeat the Titans at a track meetup in Nashville, Tenn, in late November.
We fell in love with QB Ryan Tannehill while he was still under the radar, quietly doing quality work for a smaller edition of the Dolphins … but since he settled into his current role with the relentless, aggressive Titans, he has sharpened his profile significantly and is no longer a state secret.
The ravens undoubtedly carry a considerable burden of support from Wiseguy (they were a long time a favorite of that squad), but better teams did better that teams could score four touchdowns or more against these defenses – including the Chiefs, Eagles, Steelers, and Browns, as well as the aforementioned Titans. At this point, however, exposure of a number greater than an even 3 has continued to find significant support with this underdog.
These Ravens have long been a favorite outfit, and a Baltimore victory wouldn’t be shocking … but the Ravens haven’t shown good form against several high profile teams since September unless they won at Indianapolis. Take the dots.
Don’t get yourself wrong – we don’t consider this fat favorite, given the handicap, something akin to a fatal suspension – but Chicago has been an ongoing disappointment (even given the Bears’ frustrating defense) when Mitchell Trubisky started the game with big spots fighting against better sides.
The hosts must be thrilled that this game was planned for Sunday rather than Saturday given the difficult state of the RB Alvin Kamara powerhouse. Provided Saint RB Alvin Kamara are ready to go and pass his COVID-19 tests with the grace of extra recovery time. Not sure if the bears will be able to handle the myriad of threats posed by the Saints.
Still, the bears could make a game of it, especially given the underrated and overlooked effectiveness of their specialty teams. They have already shown so much on their home field and lost their engagement in the off-season with a mere field goal. This is likely to be Drew Brees’ final round-up, and as deep as he takes these Saints into the postseason, given his abundant supporting cast, he can’t imagine losing this early.
The Saints are on the upswing and face an enemy they know can handle and will likely never stand a chance of getting the franchise’s second set of Super Bowl rings as presented in this case. This is a convenient place for the opportunistic defense of New Orleans to conduct their best. The bears’ only chance here seems to be in the structure of a minuet rather than a gallop.
Given a stuffed wildcard schedule that only bids farewell to conference seeds # 1, you see bizarre situations. The besieged Browns were unable to practice before Friday due to virus problems. An overarching consideration by Steelers is the one-sided offensive pass / run relationship that by and large invites opposing defensive gurus to treat any roaring « threat » in Pittsburgh as an afterthought.
The tight escape of the Browns against those Steelers in Cleveland last week may have been eased by the fact that Pittsburgh gave some regulars off the week the Steeltowners didn’t need a game. The market has pushed that Steelers figure up and down strong and tireless … understandable given the inherent timeline that provided the Steelers with instant revenge opportunities. Another factor is serious problems with the Cleveland O-Line, a fact that Brown’s QB Baker Mayfield is sure to have ongoing concerns.
Due to the uncertain availability of certain talent, this appears to be the most challenging game on Sunday’s menu to to settle on one side of the market. Obviously the Browns don’t have a good recent history against Pittsburgh, and their long absence from postseason play isn’t a positive … but the price is right.
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