Thursday night football features a matchup between the 5-8 New York Jets and the smoking hot Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens enter this matchup at 11-2 and looking for their 10th straight victory. The Ravens won and (barely) covered at Buffalo this past weekend taking a 24-17 victory as a -6.5 point road favorite. The Ravens have gone 6-2-1 against the spread during their nine game winning streak. The Jets also won on Sunday though not quite as impressively as Baltimore. New York got some measure of revenge against the Miami Dolphins for an earlier loss winning 22-21 but failing to cover as -4.5 home favorites. The Jets have now failed to cover in two straight but have won 4 of their last 5 games SU.
Suffice to say that New York is stepping up in class here by a considerable margin. The Jets recent wins have come against the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders and Miami. Of those four victories only the win over the Redskins came on the road. Baltimore is the best team in the AFC now based on record with a one game lead over slumping New England. They’re tied with the 11-2 San Francisco Giants for the best record in the NFL and you can make a decent case that the Ravens are the better of the two sides. Baltimore has the best points for/against differential in the NFL at +194 which is one of only three triple digit differentials in the NFL. The Ravens number is 24 points better than #2 New England (+170) and 26 points better than #3 San Francisco (+168).
The Ravens have already clinched a playoff spot but finish up the season with a pair of divisional games at Cleveland on December 22 and at home against Pittsburgh on December 29. In theory, there’s a ‘lookahead potential’ in this matchup against the lowly Jets but the 10 days off prior to the game against the Browns negates that somewhat. A bigger concern might be the quick turnaround from the Buffalo game on Sunday but the Jets are in a similar situation. Baltimore has mopped up the field with the AFC East in the past three seasons going 5-0 SU/ATS including 3-0 SU/ATS this year.
The Jets don’t have much situationally to make a compelling case with here. They’re off a divisional game and are on a brutal 2-12 SU/4-8 ATS run after a divisional game including 1-3 SU/ATS this year. More problematic could be their miserable performance on grass fields. The surface at MetLife Stadium is Act Global Speed S5 synthetic and they’ve been horrific when playing on a ‘off track’. Over the past three seasons the jets are 2-12 SU/3-10 ATS on a grass field including 1-3 SU/ATS this year. They’re also 2-7 SU/ATS against AFC rivals this season. Injuries are also an issue for the Jets and they’re likely to be missing three starters in the secondary. The biggest concern is Jamal Adams who is their best pass coverage guy and listed as ‘doubtful’ due to a sprained ankle that sidelined him for the Jets win over Miami. New York will get Le’Veon Bell back here assuming he’s willing to miss his weekly bowling date.
The Jets have a decent rushing defense (#2 in the NFL allowing 78.8 yards per game) but stopping Lamar Jackson’s dual threat ability is a different task entirely. Jackson is practicing this week with a sore quadriceps but he’s almost certain to play here. Baltimore is currently averaging 207.2 yards per game passing and 200.9 yards per game rushing. If they can maintain that performance they’ll become the first team in NFL history to average 200+ yards rushing and passing. The pointspread is sizable but against the Jets I’d rather be laying with the Ravens.