Monday Night Football Picks: Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens Prediction
- Key Stat: Lamar Jackson is averaging 31.0 pass attempts per game in 2021. He averaged just 25.9 across the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens Prediction
The Ravens are finally throwing the ball more in 2021, and all it took was a ridiculous amount of early-season attrition at the running back position. Lamar Jackson has been dropping back to pass at a career-high rate so far this year, and he’s been finding success, though his numbers don’t totally reflect it, particularly due to a tough Week 3 where Marquise Brown struggled to bring in multiple potential big plays.
Brown got back in rhythm last week with a nice 49-yard touchdown catch, but the Ravens notably had to run on the final play of the game, rather than kneel, to keep their NFL-record-tying streak of 100-yard rushing games alive. Their rushing attack hasn’t been quite as potent with a hodge podge of backs most recently led by Latavius Murray.
The Colts’ defense has been about league average in success rate against the run, but it’s been bad against the pass, ranking 29th in success rate allowed. Their passing offense has been worse — they rank 30th in success rate, as Carson Wentz has struggled with ankle injuries and ineffectiveness in his new digs. Indianapolis got their first win last week on the back of Jonathan Taylor, who ran for over 100 yards on just 16 carries, and they’ll hope to continue that success against a tough Ravens’ rush defense.
This game has a reasonably high over/under considering both teams will still run the ball plenty, and the Colts tend to play slow, ranking dead last in the NFL in situation-neutral time to snap. Baltimore is a more up-tempo offense, but if they lead as the spread indicates, they’ve certainly indicated to us they are aware the 100-yard rushing record is on the line, and I doubt they’re content just tying it.
It’s an odd thing to factor in, but I do think Baltimore is the better team here, and should be in position to go for the record with a few more rush attempts. The Ravens somewhat surprisingly deactivated youngster Ty’Son Williams last week, and that meant mostly leaning on Murray, who averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and is at 3.4 for the season. Williams meanwhile is up at 6.1 yards per carry on 27 attempts, and has looked like their most explosive back. I’m expecting Baltimore to find a way to make him active again, and to actually use him as a key part of their ground game.
The Ravens should be efficient offensively against this Colts’ defense, and if they lead, they will force the Colts to play a little faster. But they’ve not necessarily been good enough to put up points, contributing to three of four Colts’ games going under this number so far this year. The Ravens’ last two wins have also gone under this number after their first two contests of the season shot out a bit.
I’m expecting a lower-scoring game, and one where a backdoor cover could be in play to ruin the spread for Baltimore. But I do like the under here, in a night game between two teams that still see running the ball as big parts of their identities.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens Pick
Bet: Under 46 @ -105