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Taking the points against Lamar Jackson in Week 12 MNF

The Ravens are rolling, but I think the Rams can give them some trouble in Week 12.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson carries the ball in the third quarter against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium. Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams host the Baltimore Ravens to close out Week 12 with a fun inter-conference matchup on Monday Night Football. The Rams are 6-4 and sitting a game and a half back of the Minnesota Vikings for the second wild card berth. The Ravens are 8-2 and looking to maintain pace with the New England Patriots atop the AFC. Both teams need this one.

The Ravens are 3.5-point road favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, and the point total is set at 47.5. Baltimore is -182 on the money line, while Los Angeles is +160. The Ravens are 5-4-1 against the spread and have gone over the point total six times this season. The Rams are 7-3 ATS and have gone over the point total three times.

Injury report

The Ravens will likely be without defensive tackle Michael Pierce once again. I have to think Todd Gurley and company will get a crack up the middle to take advantage of that absence. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is questionable, but should play after getting a full practice session in on Friday.

The Rams will be without right tackle Rob Havenstein for a second straight week. They welcome back wide receiver Brandin Cooks from his concussion, but they face a question with fellow receiver Robert Woods. He is expected to play, but it sounds like his situation could change on a dime similar to last week against the Bears.

Pick against the spread

The betting public is heavily backing the Ravens tonight, and I can’t blame them. Lamar Jackson is on a roll and the team has won six straight, including a 41-7 thumping of the Houston Texans last week and a 37-20 win over the New England Patriots three weeks ago. They’re a great team, but recency bias is something to consider.

The big question is if the Rams defense can even begin to contain Jackson. I’m not going to pretend to think they will shut him down, but Wade Phillips could give him at least a moderately difficult time. The bigger question is how Jared Goff and the offense can handle the Ravens improving the defense. They don’t need to dominate, but if Goff has all his weapons back, I like his chances of doing enough in this game.

It’s notable that in terms of net yards per play, the Rams are actually doing better than the Rams (0.9 to 0.8). That stat tries to remove the randomness of football to a certain extent and figure out who’s really the best and worst.

All of this is to say, I’m going to fade the public and take the points with the Rams. I think they keep this sufficiently close, and it would not surprise me to see them win it outright.