Why the Ravens Are Our Experts’ Unanimous Super Bowl Pick
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Lamar Jackson
- Our experts have unanimously settled on the Baltimore Ravens as their Super Bowl pick.
- They outline their case for Lamar Jackson and Co. heading into Week 14 below.
There are five 10-win teams heading into Week 14: The Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.
This is only the fourth time there have been that many teams with double-digit wins through 12 games in the Super Bowl era, which would lead one to believe there’s no obvious Super Bowl frontrunner — but our experts beg to differ.
We asked a trio of our top NFL experts — Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon and Matthew Freedman — which team they think has the best chance to win Super Bowl LIV heading into Week 14. They all picked the Ravens, who are +300 to win it all at William Hill, where Action Network users get $50 in free bets.
Let’s dig into their reasoning below.
Sean Koerner: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are currently the No. 1 team in my NFL Power Ratings with roughly a 2-point edge over the Patriots, Chiefs and 49ers.
The Ravens are set up perfectly for a deep playoff run given how effectively they run the ball and how stout the defense has been of late — especially after acquiring Marcus Peters in Week 7. Even if they fall behind in a game and are forced to throw, Jackson has improved immensely as a passer and is more than capable of airing it out to the electric Marquise Brown and his trusted tight end, Mark Andrews.
We have to remember that Jackson was inserted into an offense that was built around Joe Flacco last season, limiting him as a passer. New coordinator Greg Roman has since came in and built the offense around Jackson, allowing him to excel as a runner and a passer.
The Ravens are going to be very tough to beat in January.
I’m riding out my Saints 11-1 ticket to win the Super Bowl, so I’ll be rooting for them to win it all. But as of right now, I would have the Ravens as 4-point favorites in a potential Super Bowl matchup against the Saints.
Matthew Freedman: Baltimore Ravens
With Jackson leading the charge, the Ravens are No. 1 in the league with a 55% rush success rate (per Sharp Football Stats).
They can control the ball and put up lots of points (33.8 per game), and since the cornerback trio of Jimmy Smith, Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey first played together in Week 9, the Ravens have been incredibly stout on defense (12.6 points allowed per game).
And in Justin Tucker, they have perhaps the league’s best kicker.
They have a complete team.
>> Our Bet Labs model gives the Baltimore Ravens the highest chance (24.94%) to win the Super Bowl.
Chris Raybon: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are a dominant football team. They currently sport the best point differential in the NFL (+187) and boast victories over the teams with the second- and third-best point differentials: New England (+177) and San Francisco (+166).
Their dominance is due not only to MVP frontrunner Jackson, either; this is a team that excels in all three phases. In terms of DVOA — Football Outsiders’ schedule-adjusted efficiency metric — they’re ranked No. 1 on offense, No. 4 on defense and No. 2 on special teams.
Their top-four defense is of particular importance, because if you could point to one question mark for the Ravens, it would be their ability to play from behind given their run-oriented attack and lack of pass-catching playmakers aside from rookie wide receiver Brown and second-year tight end Andrews.
Back in Week 3, the Chiefs laid the blueprint for knocking off the Ravens by jumping out to a 23-6 halftime lead. The Ravens were able to claw back to within five with 2:10 remaining, but ultimately fell 33-28. But that contest took place before the Ravens acquired Peters, who has spurred a defensive unit that’s stymied opponents to the tune of 12.6 points per game since his arrival.
In a potential rematch, Peters figures help the Ravens against Patrick Mahomes, who piled up 374 passing yards and three scores and no turnover while taking only one sack. The Ravens have shown they can beat the league’s best teams in their own buildings, knocking off the Pats and Seahawks on the road. And Baltimore has a two-game lead for home-field advantage over Kansas City for a potential playoff rematch.
A lot can happen between now and January, but as of right now, no franchise has a better case for hoisting this year’s Lombardi trophy than the Baltimore Ravens.