Two “loud” teams clash in a battle of AFC contenders at the new Meadowlands arena as the Baltimore Ravens vs. the New York Jets.
Vegas odds have placed the Jets as 2-point favorites at home. The Jets were 4-4 against the spread (ATS) at home in 2009 while the Ravens are 2-2 as road underdogs ATS. Baltimore has not lost to the Jets in three tries since 2001, the latest meeting a 20-13 victory in 2007.
These aren’t your father’s Ravens. The Ravens traditionally relied on a stifling, attacking defense and an offense that scored “just enough.” This year, though, expectations are high in Baltimore and rightfully so. Halfback Ray Rice is a do-everything back with nearly 2,000 combined yards from scrimmage. Willis McGahee is a touchdown machine as his running mate and the Ravens offensive line is mean and good at run-blocking. The hope for an explosive offense, though, comes from the passing game. The Ravens went out and grabbed former Cardinal Anquan Boldin in the off-season and he, along with holdovers Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap, should provide quarterback Joe Flacco was a bevy of targets. The Ravens also added within this past week slot receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh, a veteran presence returning to the AFC North. The pressure is on Flacco to take the next step and he will start this Monday night.
The Jets counter with an attacking, blitzing, “in-your-defense” from old friend Rex Ryan. Ryan has loudly proclaimed that the Jets are Super Bowl contenders and the defense will need to back-up his proclamations. The team just signed Pro Bowl corner Darrelle Revis to a bank-breaking deal and he should be in the line-up on Monday night. Antonio Cromartie, the bad boy from the Chargers, joins Revis on the other side and poses a dangerous duo. Flacco will be tested by those two shutdown cornerbacks. The Jets also feature a brick wall to counter the Ravens running game in NT Kris Jenkins as well as a group of hard-hitting linebackers led by ex-Raven Bart Scott.
This will be a game of strengths and whichever team imposes its will has the best chance of winning. Expect a low-scoring game decided by a touchdown or less, with the home team in the Jets getting the edge.
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