Texans at Ravens – NFL Pick for November 27th

by Taylor Smith
on November 27, 2017
Houston Texans (+290)
VS
Baltimore Ravens (-380)
Total: 39.5

Before the season began, Week 12’s Monday Night Football game between the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens would’ve looked a little more interesting. Heck, this would’ve looked like a better game as recently as 4 weeks ago. Alas, we may have a snoozer on tap for tonight, instead. Still, you can make things a little more interesting by putting some money on the line.

We’re used to the Ravens being among the contenders in the AFC, but John Harbaugh’s crew is just 5-5 through 10 games in 2017. That includes an incredibly depressing 27-24 defeat a few weeks ago against the Bears, who have won just 3 games all season. Still, Baltimore remains very much alive in the beleaguered AFC playoff picture.

It’s worth noting that the Ravens have taken advantage of weakened opponents thus far. Of Baltimore’s five victories on the year, 3 came against teams using backup quarterbacks (Packers, Dolphins, Raiders), while another came against a team with a rookie QB making his first career start on the road (Browns). They have really struggled against healthy contenders, as 4 of their 5 losses have come against likely playoff teams (Jaguars, Steelers, Titans, Vikings).

Still, this is another opportunity for the Ravens to pick up a win against a second string passer. With Deshaun Watson lost for the year, the Texans have resorted back to Tom Savage at the most important position on the field.

Curiously enough, every single one of Baltimore’s 5 wins have come by at least 10 points. The Ravens will be going up against a Houston team that mustered just 28 points total through each of Savage’s first 3 starts. However, they did put 31 points on the board in a win last week over Arizona.

Savage looked good last week against the Cardinals, but the Ravens are a different animal. The Baltimore defense doesn’t get much national attention, but they have shut out 2 of their last 3 opponents, which doesn’t happen very often in this league. While Savage was able to take advantage of an injury-weakened Arizona defense, he’ll have a much tougher time stringing drives together on the road tonight against an in-form defensive unit. It also won’t help that Will Fuller is expected to miss the game due to injury.

Baltimore has been league average in terms of pressuring opposing quarterbacks, but they’ll be going up against one of the worst offensive fronts in football here tonight. The Ravens rank tied with 13th with 28 sacks this season, but the Texans’ O-line is ranked 30th in pass protection. On paper, that is a matchup that can be exploited in the Ravens’ favor.

The Texans made it to the postseason last year on the shoulders of outstanding defensive play. Houston ranked first in the league in total defense last season, and that was even without JJ Watt healthy for most of the year. Watt is out again this year, though, as are Whitney Mercilus, Christian Covington and Brian Cushing. This isn’t the same defense it was last year, even with Jadaveon Clowney having another career year. Outside of Clowney, there isn’t a whole lot to fear in this unit.

Joe Flacco has had an incredibly pedestrian campaign (65.5% completions, 9 TD, 11 interceptions), and there appears to be a general lack of talent for Baltimore on the offensive side of things. The Ravens’ offense actually ranks dead last in the league in yards per game.

This game has been slapped with a tiny total of just 39 ½ points, yet the under still looks like the play. It’s just hard to imagine these teams suddenly getting into a shootout when all signs point to a defensive struggle. The Ravens make sense as -7 ½ point favorites, but that’s a pretty wide spread for an offense as anemic as Baltimore’s.

You can take the Ravens against the spread if you’re feeling frisky, but the smartest bet on the board appears to be the under on 39 ½ points.
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