Packers-Ravens Odds, Predictions: Will Lamar Jackson or Tyler Huntley Start For Ravens & Where Does That Leave Packers?
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers.
- Lamar Jackson's official status will be a game-time decision, but it's looking like Tyler Huntley will get the start.
- Packers vs. Ravens odds have shifted accordingly, with the line now at Green Bay -9.
- Our analyst breaks down if he still sees betting value on this NFL Week 15 matchup below.
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
It seemed like it was only a matter of time before the rising COVID-19 infections made their way over to the NFL. Thus, if you’re handicapping this league, you also have to be mindful of which players get added to the reserve/COVID-19 list in addition to their expected return dates.
While some teams have as many as 20 players on the list, the Packers and Ravens have a combined three. They will meet on Sunday for just the fourth time since the 2009 season in a rare non-conference clash.
The biggest concern for this game on either side can be found on the Ravens’ injury report. Quarterback Lamar Jackson did not practice during the week due to an ankle injury and is listed as questionable.
It’s been one injury after another for a Ravens team that is already down three starters in the secondary following cornerback Marlon Humphrey’s season-ending injury (torn pectoral muscle) in Week 13. While Baltimore has been able to overcome multiple injuries this season en route to an 8-5 record, Sunday’s game figures to be a test unlike any other against the Packers and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Packers vs. Ravens Injury Report
- T David Bakhtiari (knee): Out
- G/T Billy Turner (knee): Out
- TE Dominique Dafney (ankle): Out
- WR Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion): Doubtful
- WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (back): Questionable
- WR Malik Taylor (abdomen): Questionable
- G Ben Powers (foot): Out
- DT Calais Campbell (thigh): Doubtful
- QB Lamar Jackson (ankle): Questionable
- TE Nick Boyle (knee): Questionable
- G Tyre Phillips (illness): Questionable
- FB/DL Patrick Ricard (back/knee): Questionable
- OT Alejandro Villanueva (knee): Questionable
- G/C Patrick Mekari (hand): Questionable
- CB Chris Westry (knee): Questionable
Packers vs. Ravens Matchup
|Packers Offense||DVOA Rank||Ravens Defense|
|Packers Defense||DVOA Rank||Ravens Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Balanced Packers Attack Led by Rodgers
The Packers are clicking at the moment behind their MVP quarterback.
Rodgers is in the midst of another quality season, ranking fourth overall in ESPN’s Total QBR (65.0) metric. I’ve yet to see a defense that he couldn’t break down. While it would’ve been fun to see him take on the Ravens’ secondary at full strength, that won’t be the case on Sunday.
One thing about Rodgers is that he’s extremely precise in where he delivers the football. Just look at the throw he made in the first quarter against the Bears last Sunday night:
This is a throw that only Aaron Rodgers can make. Football wizardry. pic.twitter.com/tgFIVozvxt
— Matt Infield WSAW (@Matt_Infield) December 13, 2021
I’m not sure there’s another quarterback in the league that has the stones even to attempt that pass, let alone complete it. Given Baltimore’s depleted secondary, you can bet Rodgers will be licking his chops to take his shots down the field.
Even with Rodgers, the Packers remain committed to a balanced offensive attack. It’s hard to be more balanced than this Packers team, which according to TeamRankings, is 17th out of 32 teams with a run rate of 41.47% this season.
There’s a clear purpose and direction behind everything the Packers do offensively. They might not have all the gaudy stats when it comes to running the ball, but it’s effective when they do so. Per Sharp Football Stats, the Packers rank eighth with a situational rushing success rate of 52%, and on third and fourth down, they’re the best in the league at 78%.
As a result, the Packers are a handful for any defense. When you’re shorthanded in critical positions like the Ravens are, stopping Green Bay is even more difficult.
Can Bettors Trust Jackson if He Starts For Ravens?
Judging by the Ravens’ injury report, it appears the plan all along was to keep Jackson off the practice field this week so he could rest and have a chance to play on Sunday. Given he’s listed as questionable, it seems more likely that he at least tries to give it a go on Sunday.
However, what can we expect from Jackson if he’s potentially less than 100%? Depending on the severity of the injury, he could be less of a threat in the running game.
Baltimore ranks third with 144.8 rushing yards per game. However, that number wouldn’t nearly be as high as without Jackson, who has almost twice as many rushing yards (767) compared to anyone else on the team.
I guess if you’re a Ravens fan, you might view the injury as a blessing in disguise if it means Jackson can stay in the pocket and possibly rediscover his form in the passing game. His 13 interceptions through 12 games are already a career high despite starting at least 15 games in each of the past three seasons.
The problem is that even if we don’t include Week 14 when Jackson was carted off, he’s failed to register a Total QBR greater than 43.7 in his previous five games.
Defensively, Baltimore has been competitive even in losing its last two games against the Steelers and the Browns. The Ravens allowed an average of 22 points, despite losing by a combined margin of three points. However, neither opponent presents an offensive threat like the Packers.
A cloud of regression has probably been looming over the Ravens for some time now. Their Pythagorean expectation (.509) suggests that they’re probably only slightly better than an average team, yet they have a .615 winning percentage.
Packers vs. Ravens Predictions
It’s tough to see how a depleted secondary and hobbled quarterback can stand toe-to-toe with the Packers.
What’s interesting is that even if the Ravens lose this week and drop to 8-6, they’ll still have a decent chance to make the playoffs. Outside of Baltimore, no team in its division has more than seven wins on the season. And with an upcoming divisional game against the 7-6 Bengals in Week 16, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Ravens are caught looking ahead.
BetMGM has the best price on the board with the Packers as a 5.5-point favorite as of Saturday evening (check real-time NFL odds here). When laying at least that many points this season, Green Bay is a perfect 5-0 against the spread.
Sharp Football Stats ranks Baltimore 31st defensively against explosive pass plays. If anyone can locate the soft spots in the defense, it’s Rodgers.
Lay the points with road favorites and play them up to -6.5.
Pick: Packers -5.5 | Bet to: -6.5
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