Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-6.5, 44.5)
The New England Patriots did not even have to take the field to seize control of their postseason destiny and they can solidify the front-running status when they host the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Oakland’s loss to Kansas City on Thursday night put the Patriots one-half game up for the No. 1 seed in the AFC entering the final quarter of the season.
New England has won three in a row and can wrap up the AFC East title for an eight consecutive season — which would be an NFL record — with a win over Baltimore and a loss by Miami. The Patriots own a deceptive 7-1 regular-season record in the series against the Ravens, who have been a major nemesis for New England and quarterback Tom Brady. Four of the last six meetings (playoffs included) have been decided by four points or fewer and Baltimore owns a pair of postseason victories over the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass. The stakes are equally high for the Ravens, who are tied with Pittsburgh atop the AFC North but currently hold the tiebreaker over the Steelers.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Ravens (-1.5) – Patriots (-6) + home field (-3) = Patriots -7.5
LINE HISTORY: The Patriots opened as 7.5-point home favorites and the public quickly jumped on Baltimore’s historical success against Tom Brady and the Pats – puching the line down to -6.5 by Sunday. The total hit the board at 46 and came all of the way down to 44.5. View complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: The forecast for Gillette Stadium on Monday night is calling for foggy, damp conditions with temperatures in the mid-30’s. There will also be a 9-10 mph wind blowing just to make the conditions even more unpleasant.
Ravens – G M. Yanda (Questionable, shoulder), TE C. Gilmore (Questionable, thigh), RB L. Taliaferro (Questionable, thigh), RB J. Allen (Questionable, personal), CB T. Young (Questionable, shoulder), G A. Lewis (Early Jan, ankle), TE B. Watson (I-R, achilles), DT W. Henry (I-R, undisclosed), CB M. Canady (I-R, hamstring), S K. Lewis (I-R, thigh), CB S. Price (I-R, thigh), TE M. Williams (I-R, knee), WR C. Matthews (I-R, undisclosed), G D. Wesley (I-R, undisclosed), DT C. Davis (I-R, ankle), DE B. Kaufusi (I-R, ankle), T S. Nembot (I-R, undisclosed), CB K. Arrington (I-R, concussion), LB C. Luckett (I-R, undisclosed), CB J. Rolle (I-R, achilles), WR K. Clay (I-R, foot).
Patriots – TE M. Bennett (Probable, ankle), QB T. Brady (Probable, knee), LB E. Roberts (Questionable, hamstring), DL W. Hamilton (Questionable, leg), WR M. Slater (Questionable, foot), DB J. Richards (Questionable, knee), DB E. Rowe (Questionable, hamstring), WR D. Amendola (Out, ankle), G T. Jackson (Questionable, knee), QB J. Brissett (Questionable, thumb), TE R. Gronkowski (I-R, back), T S. Vollmer (I-R, knee), LB J. Freeny (I-R, shoulder), TE G. Scruggs (knee).
ABOUT THE RAVENS (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS, 4-7-1 O/U): Baltimore improved to 4-1 in its last five games following its most impressive victory of the season, a 38-6 demolition of Miami last week that snapped the Dolphins’ six-game winning streak. Muddling through a season of mediocrity to that point, quarterback Joe Flacco established season highs with 381 yards passing and four touchdowns while setting a franchise record with 36 completions. Tight end Dennis Pitta had nine catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns, part of a unit that features veteran Steve Smith, speedster Mike Wallace and promising Breshad Perriman at wide receiver. The Ravens have the league’s top-ranked defense (296.1 yards per game) and rank No. 1 against the run (73.8 yards).
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (10-2 SU, 9-3 ATS, 4-8 O/U): New England has won three in a row, although the combined record of those opponents entering Week 13 is 8-28. Brady has 19 touchdown passes versus only one interception since returning from his four-game suspension, but he is without his No. 1 receiving target in tight end Rob Gronkowski and has 12 scoring passes versus 11 picks in 10 career games (playoffs included) versus Baltimore. Rookie Malcolm Mitchell continues to emerge as a bigger threat in the passing game with a season-high eight receptions in last week’s 26-10 win over Los Angeles while LeGarrette Blount is 43 yards shy of his second 1,000-yard season. The Patriots’ defense is tied with Baltimore with 17.3 points allowed — second in the NFL.
* Ravens are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 Monday games.
* Patriots are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. AFC.
* Under is 4-0 in Ravens last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Under is 4-0 in Patriots last 4 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
* Road team is 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
COVERS CONSENESUS: 52 percent of the Covers picking public is grabbing the road underdog Ravens and 58 percent are taking the Over. View full consensus data here.
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