Two weeks ago
Nov 28, 2019

NFL Week 13 preview: San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens

NFL Week 13 predictions

A Super Bowl preview?

Analysing the 49ers and Ravens

San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens: Where is the value?

NFL Week 13 preview: San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens

San Francisco 49ers travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in Week 13 of the NFL. Looking for value in the NFL Week 13 odds? Read on to inform your NFL Week 13 predictions.

NFL Week 13 predictions

Thanksgiving has arrived, along with the usual raft of three Thursday games. The regular season bye weeks have now ended and each team has played eleven games, with a final five game dash to the finishing line.

Fourteen teams have little realistic chance of featuring in the post season, but at the head of the market the successful sides still have post-season seeding to play for, even if they have all but booked their tickets to play football in January.

A Super Bowl preview?

There will be few bigger games played this season than Sunday’s AFC verses NFC matchup, when Baltimore welcomes San Francisco, in what could be a dress rehearsal for the Super Bowl and is a re-match of SB XLVII.

New England’s lacklustre offensive output has seen them drift in the outright market, and with some bookies they share favouritism with Baltimore as the best in both the NFL and the AFC. Meanwhile the NFC is perceived as the weaker of the two conferences, where San Francisco currently enjoy joint top billing with New Orleans.

San Francisco has the better record than Baltimore, but is much more vulnerable to slipping down the post-season pecking order.

They are only a win ahead of Seattle in the NFC West and they also have New Orleans awaiting them in week 14. They are only just more likely than not to top the division and earn a bye in the wildcard weekend, and a loss on Sunday would reduce those probabilities to marginally below 0.5.

Baltimore has no such worries. A win would all but secure a post season bye week, but they would still be heavily favoured to get an extra rest week if they do come up short against San Francisco.

Overall, the need is greater for the visitors on Sunday.

It’s a surprise to see both teams so high up in the standings based on the 2018 season. Baltimore had their traditionally good defence last year, but they were well below par offensively. They ran the ball with just average efficiency, but passed poorly.

However, they are excelling on both sides of the ball in 2019, following a predictably difficult transition from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson at quarterback.

Jackson struggled with poor completion rates in 2018, but he’s jumped from a 58% rate to 67% this year, whilst also improving his yards per attempt. He threw for 0.7 fewer yards per attempt once corrected for the quality of the defences he faced, but is currently hitting efficiency levels that are 0.7 yards greater than par per attempt.

He’s dialled back on his rushing attempts. He ran an average of 17 times per game in matches he started last term, but these have reduced to a still exceptional 11 per game as his passing threat has matured.

Analysing the 49ers and Ravens

The Ravens have a top five passing game and the NFL’s top rated running game. They run for 1.2 yards per attempt greater than par, and their highly efficient dual threat has delivered an average of 35 points per game against offenses that typically have conceded just 23.5.

They’ve added flair and creativity to a resilient defence that is only average when defending the pass and even slightly below par against the run, but has proven difficult to score against by allowing 18.4 points per game against offenses that are scoring 21.8 ppg, on average.

San Francisco also struggled in 2018, but they lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo three games into the season, which ended their year as a competitive outfit.

Garoppolo’s current passing efficiency bears comparison with Jackson’s, and he’s just a tenth of a yard shy of the numbers being posted by his rival on Sunday. But he is more prone to throwing picks, plus 3% of his attempts end up in the hands of his opponent, which is at the higher end for regular passers this season.

Overall, the need is greater for the visitors on Sunday.

The 49ers more conventional ground attack is par for the league, and although they’ve averaged just over 30 points per game, they’ve faced poorer defences who are allowing over 25 points per game, compared to Baltimore’s more defensively competent opponents.

San Francisco’s defence is built around an exceptional passing unit that rivals that of New England. They are knocking nearly two yards per attempt off the average gain made by the offenses they have faced in 2019.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens: Where is the value?

The ground game is the softer option for opponents to make above average gains against San Francisco, and overall the 49ers are restricting teams who average 21 points per game to an average score of just 15.

Scoring rates favour the home field Ravens by five points with a total of 46 points, which is around where the spreads currently lie.

Offensive and defensive matchups suggest that Baltimore will be able to run the ball with relative ease, but may find the aerial route much more taxing, in keeping with Aaron Rodgers’ struggles last week, when he barely managed three yards per attempt against San Francisco’s excellent pass defence.

San Francisco are unlikely to reach the Ravens’ heights on the ground, but they’ll possibly achieve a more balanced and slightly above par contribution when either running or passing the ball.

The potential game breaker is Jackson’s option to run the ball if his passing options aren’t available, a scenario that can frustrate even the best of passing defences, but with the spread moving from the Ravens by 4 towards the Ravens by 6, SF plus these likely big numbers is the choice in a game to savour.

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