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Lamar Jackson, John Harbaugh, that defense are why I’m taking the points with Baltimore

The Patriots are rolling, but the Ravens have some advantages heading into Week 9. We break down a pick against the spread.

Head coaces Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens shake hands following the 2015 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The NFL gets one of the best prime time games of the year this weekend when the Baltimore Ravens host the New England Patriots on Week 9 Sunday Night Football. The Patriots are undefeated and head into their bye following this game. The Ravens are coming off their bye, which was preceded by a three-game winning streak capped by a 30-16 win in Seattle.

The Patriots are currently a three-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. The line opened at 3.5, so the movement has been beneficial if you want to back the Patriots, and not as much for Ravens backers losing that hook. The Ravens +3 is getting a little extra juice at -113 compared to -108 for the Patriots -3 (bet $113 to win $100 for Ravens cover, bet $108 to win $100 for Patriots cover).

This is a fascinating matchup of the proverbial new and old guard of quarterbacks. It seems like Tom Brady has a handful of these matchups every year. Lamar Jackson is the latest pushing to claim the throne. Realistically it matters when the teams get to the playoffs, but a home win over New England would be a huge momentum builder for the Ravens. This is the start of a tough stretch for the Patriots, but they also will get some time off after playing three games in 13 days.

The big questions for Baltimore are the potential returns of cornerback Jimmy Smith and wide receiver Marquise Brown. Smith would join the newly added Marcus Peters, who had a strong debut prior to the bye. The Ravens made a sizable upgrade to their pass defense in trading for Peters and they come into this game ranked 13th in pass defense efficiency. They currently rank 17th in offensive passing efficiency, so potentially getting back Hollywood Brown would be a big boost.

The key betting stat of note is John Harbaugh’s record coming off the bye. Harbaugh-led Ravens are winning at an over 80 percent clip coming out of the bye and are covering the spread at a 67 percent clip, according to our friends at the Bet The Board podcast.

The Patriots could roll in this one and it would not be a shock, but their biggest concern is Mark Ingram and that rushing attack. Even if they manage to keep Lamar Jackson in the pocket. Ingram has been the sixth most effective running back. Even if we see new wrinkles for this offense with Jackson, Ingram will be a key reason this remains close.

I’m going to take the points with the prime time home underdog. This should be a great game, and while it could go either way, an outright Ravens win is a very real possibility. The potential returns of Jimmy Smith and Marquise Brown coupled with coming off the bye and their strong ground game puts them in prime position to spring an upset in this game.

Baltimore hosts the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13, so it would be somewhat fitting to see them take down both remaining undefeated teams. Maybe the ‘72 Dolphins would send them some champagne.