Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, 21:25 BST
Live on Sky Sports Action
Wilson should have fun against patchy Ravens Defence
After six weeks, Russell Wilson is the standout candidate in the MVP race and will fancy his chances of improving his case against a Baltimore Ravens defence that has blown hot and cold this season. Wilson has completed over 70% of his passes, thrown 14 touchdowns, no interceptions and led Seattle to a 5-1 record as he continues to cement his place as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. With Tyler Lockett and rookie D.K. Metcalf providing talent from the wide receiver position and Chris Carson well on his way to rushing for more than 1,000 yards, Seattle have a balanced offence but it is Wilson who truly makes the unit tick.
Baltimore have a reputation as a quality defensive team but that is not the case this term. They come in to Sunday's game off the back of two wins when they looks decent enough defensively, but those wins were over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. In 2019, those two AFC North sides could only dream of having an offence as productive as Seattle's, the Ravens have struggled against offensive units that are comparable. In Weeks 3 and 4 John Harburgh's team faced a Kansas City Chiefs side led by Patrick Mahomes, and Baker Mayfield's Cleveland Browns; they gave up a combine 73 points and 1,049 yards. With that in mind, I expect Wilson to throw for over 254.5 yards although the addition of Marcus Peters could well mean Baltimore are the first defence to intercept Seattle's signal caller in 2019.
All Action Jackson will link up with Andrews
The 2018 NFL Draft saw five quarterbacks drafted in the first round, in 2019 the last of those five to be picked is the best performer. Lamar Jackson's season has seen him throw for 1,507 yards and 11 TDs while also picking up a team best 460 rushing yards, as he establishes himself as a genuine dual threat quarterback. Relying heavily on passes to the Ravens tight end group and the threat he poses on the run, Jackson has had a lot of success this season, however Seattle's athletic defence will cause problems.
Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are key components of a Seahawks defence who are one of the fastest in the league, which will mean Jackson may be forced to pass more than usual. Tight End Mark Andrews is Jackson's favourite target and I wouldn't be surprised to see him add to the three TDs he has scored already this term, particularly as the explosive Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is struggling with an injury. The 13/8 is a good price for Andrews to score, and his receiving yards line is worth a look, as I expect Jackson and the Ravens offence to challenge Wilson in an exciting battle.
Another nailbiter in Seattle
Five of Seattle's six games this season have been decided by six points or fewer, a 27-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals the only exception. Baltimore also have a penchant for close games in 2019, other than a blowout loss to the Browns and a 59-10 win over the hapless Miami Dolphins all of the Ravens' games have been decided by less than a touchdown. Both teams have defensive players who are capable of making big plays, but it is the run heavy offences that will make this game close.
With Jackson and running back Mark Ingram in the backfield, Baltimore are capable of churning out long, clock killing drives. This will be crucial to keeping Wilson and his improv-style quarterback play off the field. Seattle's leader is one of the best in the league at extending possessions, often producing moments of brilliance at key times. With both teams happy to be involved in a battle, I'm expecting both teams to go over on their points line and will also back Baltimore to cover the handicap, which is set at +3.5, in a Same Game Multi.
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