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It’s week sixteen of the NFL season, and as we get closer and closer to the playoffs beginning, it’s becoming more and more essential for bubble teams to string together some wins and solidify a spot in the postseason. Two of those bubble teams face off this Saturday in Baltimore in a Christmas Eve game between the Ravens and the Falcons. Both teams have had serious struggles in recent weeks. Without a healthy Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens took a tough loss to the Browns and Deshaun Watson last week, despite about forty more yards of offense than Cleveland. Tyler Huntley didn’t look great with only 138 yards in the air and an interception, but being thrown into an offense built for Lamar Jackson’s skill set is a tough task to live up to. At 9-5, though, Baltimore is currently in position to seal a playoff berth if they win a couple games to finish out the season. Atlanta hasn’t been much better after losing five of their last six games, but turnaround hopes are high with Desmond Ridder now being the starter for a squad that hasn’t been ruled out of the playoffs just yet. Ridder threw for just 97 yards last week against the Saints in his first game as a starter, the fewest passing yards the Falcons have had all season. Despite that performance, though, Atlanta will have to roll with the rookie with Mariota undergoing knee surgery. Both teams have fared better in their ground game, especially with neither squad having their starting QB available, so expect two run-heavy offenses in this Saturday’s game.
Vegas likes the Ravens this game even without Lamar Jackson. The Falcons desperately need to win out if they want any shot at making the playoffs, but the way things have been going for them doesn’t lead anyone to believe that they have a strong chance at a win this week. If they can truly get a ground game working between rookie RB Tyler Allgeier, who went for almost 140 rushing yards last week, and veteran Cordarelle Patterson, they may be able to give the Ravens defense some trouble, but it’s their own defensive front that has caused the most issues, averaging almost 24 points against per game. Tyler Huntley showed that despite being nowhere near the talent levels of Lamar Jackson, he’s still got enough going for him to keep the offense moving against beatable teams in his two wins against Denver and Pittsburgh. The Baltimore defense has limited teams to just under 19 points and 130 yards of rushing offense per game , which isn’t incredible, but against a team like Atlanta, it should be good enough to stop any major scoring opportunities. As long as turnovers are kept to a minimum on offense, Baltimore shouldn’t have any big issues winning this game, so take the Ravens money-line and get your free $200 instantly from DraftKings!