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Ravens’ Odds to Make the NFL Playoffs Fall to -250 After Loss to Steelers

Tyus Bowser Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser (54) celebrates with teammates after making an interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
  • Baltimore (6-5) currently sits 9th in the AFC Playoff Standings following its 19-14 loss to Pittsburgh
  • The Ravens remaining schedule is very favorable, with four of five games against sub .500 teams
  • Are they a good bet to make the playoffs at their new odds?

If I would have told you eight months ago that after 12 weeks of the NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens would only be -250 to make the playoffs, you would have refinanced your house in order to get more money down on those odds. But that’s exactly where the Ravens’ playoff price tag sits following their latest loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Baltimore Ravens Playoff Odds

Odds to Make Playoffs Odds to Miss Playoffs
-250 +200

Odds taken Dec. 2nd at DraftKings.

The defeat drops Baltimore to 6-5, and down to 9th place in the AFC playoff standings. Prior to the start of the season, their NFL Playoff odds were -738, the second shortest in the conference, and as recently as four weeks ago, that number was as short as -3500. Of course that was right after an impressive win over Indianapolis, but since then it’s been nothing but losses for the Ravens.

Lamar’s Struggles

It’s tough to read too much into their Week 12 meeting with the Steelers, considering they were missing more than a dozen players due to COVID. Among those, was former MVP Lamar Jackson, along with his top pass catcher Mark Andrews.

Jackson in particular, has been one of the main reasons for Baltimore’s decline, as he’s failed to replicate his 2019 MVP season. His completion percentage in 2020 is in the same ballpark as last year, but his touchdown rate has been slashed nearly in half. He’s averaging a TD pass on just 5.4% of his throws this season, compared to 9.0% in 2019.

While his TD rate has plummeted, his INT and sack rate have soared. Lamar is throwing a pick on 2.4% of his passes (up from 1.5% in 2019), and is taking a sack once every 12.5 drop backs. It’s no surprise his quarterback rating has dropped 20 points, but what is head scratching is his lack of rushing production.

In 2019, Jackson averaged 11.7 attempts and 80.4 yards on the ground per game, but this season he’s down 10.4 carries, and 57.5 yards per contest.

As a result, the Ravens rank 22nd in total yards per game, after ranking second in that category last season. They’re averaging a touchdown less per outing than in 2019, and no one on the roster is even averaging four receptions per contest.

On the Bright Side

As bleak as the paragraph above sounds, the news isn’t all bad for Baltimore. Their defense is still elite, ranking third in points allowed and eighth in yards allowed per game, and they just held the league’s only undefeated team below 20 points.

The Steelers mustered only 334 total yards versus the Ravens, despite Baltimore missing elite defenders Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, and Matthew Judon due to COVID, and Jimmy Smith, who left the game with a groin injury.

The Ravens may be 6-5, but their remaining schedule is incredibly soft. Four of their five opponents (Dallas, Jacksonville, Cincinnati and the New York Giants) are a combined 23 games under .500, while their other remaining foe is Cleveland, a team they beat by 32 points earlier in the year.

Lamar will be eligible to play in Week 13 versus the Cowboys if he’s healthy, and assuming no further injury setbacks or COVID outbreaks, this team will be at worst 10-6 when the season is over.

Don’t forget, three of their five losses have come against Pittsburgh and Kansas City, the two best teams in the league.

Baltimore is Still Playoff Bound

As it stands right now, the Ravens are a game behind the Colts and Miami Dolphins, and two games behind the Browns, the three teams currently holding Wild Card spots. Baltimore has by far the easiest remaining schedule of any of those squads, with the Dolphins and Browns being the most likely to fall out of a playoff spot.

Miami’s remaining schedule includes Kansas City, Buffalo, New England and Las Vegas, while not only does Cleveland have to face Baltimore, but three separate division leaders as well.

The Ravens playoff fate is in their own hands. Four more wins will likely lock up at worst the seventh seed, but if they take care of business against the Browns as well, they could find themselves as high as the fifth seed. That would likely set up a first round matchup with either Buffalo or one of Tennessee or Indianapolis, and Baltimore would be incredibly live against any of those opponents.

Call me crazy, but not only are the Ravens a good bet to make the playoffs, they’re also a good investment in the AFC championship market. Baltimore is +1600 to win the conference, and if they can win a playoff game, at the very least you’d have a lot of hedging opportunities with that ticket in your pocket.

Pick: Baltimore Ravens to make playoffs (-250)

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