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Gridiron Players Club (12/25/23)

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NFL

(2 Picks)


8:15PM EST: 49ers -6 (4 Units)


If Baltimore was at full strength this would be a much more enticing matchup, but they're just too banged up. They just lost Rookie RB Keaton Mitchell to the season with a torn ACL last week. He provided much needed explosiveness to the Ravens backfield after they lost their original starter JK Dobbins. They're without starting Tight End Mark Andrews. They're also down a pair of cornerbacks heading into this game. They're forced to fly across the entire country on Christmas Eve. Just a real rough spot to have to run into the juggernaut that is San Francisco.


As good as the Ravens defense has been at times, they still gave up 31 to the Rams a couple weeks ago and 33 to the Browns last month. They aren't invincible and the SF offense is the best they're going to see. Being shorthanded at CB is something Kyle Shanahan is going to exploit early and often. The 49ers have yet to score less than 27 points with their fully healthy core of players and it's going to be tough for Baltimore to end that streak.


It's SF's defense that should really present issues for Baltimore. They've gotten by without Andrews but he's going to be sorely missed here. Isaiah Likely is a fine replacement but he doesn't provide the same vertical threat that Andrews does. SF runs a lot of zone coverages and 3 high looks, which leaves the seams vulnerable. Likely is also half the blocker that Andrews is. Then there's the Keaton Mitchell injury. He provided a much-needed spark to the Ravens offense. Without him they have Gus Edwards whose best days appear to be behind him, a career RB3 in Justice Hill, and the ancient Melvin Gordon who still fumbles too much.


They just lack explosiveness and playmaking ability right now outside of Lamar and WR Zay Flowers. You also need time to throw if you want to get the ball into a WR's hands and the SF pass rush has been unfair. They're getting pressure on nearly 50% of drop backs since adding Chase Young. They're also plenty familiar with mobile QB's. Lamar is a 1 of 1 but they just bottled-up Jalen Hurts a few weeks back and regularly do so to division rival Kyler Murray.


Baltimore also has to work shorthanded on offense IN San Francisco. It's going to be an incredibly hostile environment that they must work in. Their last 2 road trips haven't been great. They put up 23 in Jacksonville but the last time they went to the west coast they scored just 20 on a bad Chargers defense. The Chargers also turned the ball over 4 times to the Ravens 0 that day. Unlikely the BAL defense can bail them out like that again today.


Just a tough spot for Baltimore all things considered. Lamar will have to be absolutely incredible just for them to have a chance. If SF jumps ahead and forces Baltimore to air it out, this could get real ugly. The Ravens have been able to throw a bit this year but that's a byproduct on the #1 rushing offense in football. They still aren't built to play from behind and still lack a true WR1.


8:15PM EST: (BAL) Charlie Kolar Anytime TD +1,800 (1 Units)


Continuation Bet.

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