Green Bay Packers @ Baltimore Ravens: Offences on top when Flacco meets Rodgers

Joe Flacco is an under-rated QB

Neil Harvey has scoured both Betfair's exchange and sportsbook to find the best bets for Sunday's early game from the NFL and he fancies plenty of points when Green Bay go to Baltimore

"Baltimore (3-2) have the weaponry to put plenty of points on the board against Green Bay’s rather fragile defence. They’ll need to though, given the strength of the Packers’ offence."

Green Bay Packers @ Baltimore Ravens
Start Time: Sunday,  18:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2

Green bay (2-2) travel to Baltimore knowing they could really do with a win to keep them within reach of division leaders Chicago (4-2).

The Packers should arrive in high spirits after making the Detroit Lions look absolutely toothless last week. It was an impressive effort from a Packers defence that ranks in the bottom half of the league at stopping both pass and rush. Yet it limited the prolific Reggie Bush to just 44 yards on the ground. That though, may not have been so much of an improved-showing, as it was a calculated-gamble. With Calvin Johnson out injured, Green Bay were able to focus on stopping the ground threat, safe in the knowledge there was no Megatron to burn them.

The 22-9 victory came at a price too, with influential linebacker Clay Matthews suffering a broken thumb that will keep him out of action for the next few weeks.

Against Baltimore, the Pack won't be able to take that kind of all-or-nothing risk. On the ground they'll need to watch out for Ray Rice, an elite running back who can also take a short pass and turn it into a big gain. Rice hasn't put up big numbers yet this season. But he's been up against several sides good at stopping the run. Against the Packers, he should find himself with a lot more room in which to maneouvre.

Green Bay will also need to focus on Baltimore's much under-appreciated quarterback, Joe Flacco. The Ravens' QB is composed, has a good arm, and gets good protection from his offensive line. He's also thrown for more yards than Aaron Rodgers this season, albeit having played an extra game. Flacco also has a standout receiver to aim for, in the form of Torrey Smith, who's averaging more than hundred yards a game so far in what looks like being his breakout season.

Baltimore (3-2) have the weaponry to put plenty of points on the board against Green Bay's rather fragile defence. They'll need to though, given the strength of the Packers' offence. Rodgers isn't being given a whole lot of time by his offensive line, but that doesn't matter, because he's Aaron Rodgers, a man destined to become one of the greatest QBs of all time.

Helping Rodgers' cause is the array of talented receivers around him with James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson all capable of making big yardage plays. Second round draft-pick Eddy Lacy is also an important addition to Green Bay's arsenal, as he finally gives the team a running game that demands respect, and which helps open-up more space for the receivers.

The Ravens defence is a mere shadow of its former self following the departure of several key players. Just how much they've been weakened, was apparent in Week One when they gave-up a whopping 49 points and more than 500 offensive yards to the Denver Broncos. In the games that have followed, Baltimore have been lucky to face a string of somewhat average quarterbacks. But that all changes with the arrival of Rodgers, who is averaging more than 300 yards and two touchdowns per game and who's capable of improving on those stats against the soft Ravens secondary.

With both teams capable of moving the chains it's hard to see this game being a blowout. Baltimore have won both of their home games this season. The Packers have lost the two times they've been on the road, but with both those games decided by the margin of less than a touchdown. This one could be very close, leading to a nervy second half and even the possibility of overtime.


Recommended Bets
Highest Scoring Half to be First Half @ 1.910/11 or better once market gains liquidity
Baltimore Ravens (+4) to win @ 8/11
First touchdown scorer to be Ray Rice (match bet versus Eddy Lacy) @ EVENS
Back total points Over 47 @ 4/5
Back Green Bay points Over 24 @ 20/23
Back Baltimore points Over 23 @ 10/11
Back Overtime to be played @ 8.07/1 or better once market gains liquidity

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