The final Thursday night game of the season kicks off Week 15 of the NFL season with the hottest team in the league, Baltimore, playing host to a Jets squad that’s rallied from a 1-7 start to win four of its past five games.
On the weather front, the forecast is for a game-time temperature of 32 degrees with minimal wind and a “zero percent” chance of precipitation.
Now for a closer look at the game. The odds are provided by Westgate Las Vegas:
NY Jets (5-8) Baltimore Ravens (11-2)
Time: 5:20 p.m. PT
Line: Ravens -15.5 (45)
The skinny: The Ravens, the clear favorite to win the Super Bowl at 5-2, will take on a club that has been flexing its defensive muscle by not allowing a TD in two of its past three games.
Facts: Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson, who has a league-best 28 TD passes and is the 10th leading rusher (1,017 yards), suffered a quad injury in Sunday’s 24-17 win at Buffalo and originally was listed as questionable but has been elevated to probable. But TE Mark Andrews, by far Jackson’s favorite target, remains questionable (knee). … Baltimore is the first team to average 200-plus rushing yards a game (200.9) since the 1977 Bears and is averaging 5.5 a rush, also tops in the league. NYJ is yielding a league-low 3.0 a carry. … Jets RB Le’Veon Bell is good to go after taking last weekend off (flu) and then going bowling. … Baltimore has a one-game lead over New England for the top seed in the AFC in addition to owning head-to-head tiebreaker.
Analysis: The Ravens are getting this week’s atomic wedgie from the schedule maker by having to play their fourth game in 18 days and thus having to prep on short rest for the second time in three weeks. Only one other team has been in that scheduling pickle this season, Pittsburgh, and on the 18th day the Steelers lost at Cleveland 21-7, their only defeat during a current 7-1 stretch. FYI: The past 25 teams facing this tight four-game window have gone 9-15-1 ATS on Day 18. Lastly this is not to suggest in any way whatsoever the Jets could be up to no good and target Jackson’s tender limb, but their defensive coordinator is Gregg Williams, who was suspended in the Saints’ Bountygate scandal years back. If Ravens coach John Harbaugh fears for his QB, he might be inclined to give him a relatively quick hook at the first sign of a limp since this game isn’t life-and-death for the Ravens in their quest for the top seed.
Prediction: Ravens 26, Jets 17