Week 13 boasts what very well could be this season’s eventual Super Bowl matchup today when the Baltimore Ravens (9-2) host the San Francisco 49ers (10-1) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
With the forecast calling for rain, these squads will have to endure the elements and slow the pace on the field -- something that could hinder Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
But that’s not a lock to happen. This could be the ultimate prove-it moment for Jackson as he takes a commanding lead in the league MVP race.
Jackson will be tasked with putting up points against a San Francisco defense that ranks near the top of most statistical categories this season.
The 49ers won’t have running back Matt Brieda or wide receiver Dante Pettis in the lineup, so quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will have to outduel Jackson with a limited selection of weapons.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Ravens handle covering San Francisco tight end George Kittle. I could see Baltimore safety Earl Thomas locking him down when he’s not used to patrol deep in the secondary.
If field conditions become an issue, the Ravens hold the edge by being able to feed the ball to running back Mark Ingram.
In a close battle, I’m leaning toward the team that has the better kicker. Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker may be called upon for a game-winner, and he’s missed just one of his 21 field goal attempts.
This game’s for the birds -- literally.
Final score: Ravens 30, 49ers 27
Thursday Twitter Picks
It’s only fitting that, with as little success as I’ve had picking Thursday games -- when I actually remember to pick them -- I was able to pull off what I’m officially calling the Turkey Day Turkey.
Thank you to the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints for putting my picks week on a 3-0 start. Let’s finish with some more strikes.
Best of the rest
Carolina Panthers 24, Washington Redskins 14
The Panthers have stunk at times this season, but they’re not beltway bad.
New York Jets 21, Cincinnati Bengals 17
Maybe the Bengals can get some of those Bud Light “Victory Fridges” installed around Cincinnati for the 2020 season.
Indianapolis Colts 23, Tennessee Titans 20
The Titans and Colts both need to win out to help their respective postseason chances, but the loser will likely miss the window.
Philadelphia Eagles 27, Miami Dolphins 19
A win by the Eagles pulls them even with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East race.
Green Bay Packers 23, New York Giants 17
The future might be bright for the Giants, but their present is about as burned-out as Eli Manning’s gas tank.
Cleveland Browns 21, Pittsburgh Steelers 16
Unless one of the Browns hits Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with his clipboard, there shouldn’t be much drama.
Jacksonville Jaguars 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette needs just 49 rushing yards to hit the 1,000 mark on the season.
Los Angeles Rams 28, Arizona Cardinals 17
If Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray can’t play due to his hamstring injury, then this game might be even more of a lopsided loss.
Los Angeles Chargers 23, Denver Broncos 14
Barring some sort of miracle, neither team is bound for the postseason, so both squads must find some pride for this AFC West showdown.
Kansas City Chiefs 30, Oakland Raiders 20
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has an opportunity to put his team ahead by two games in the AFC West title race with four to play.
New England Patriots 31, Houston Texans 10
The Patriots’ defense proved it was for real last week, and it may be the best in the league by a significant distance.
Seattle Seahawks 27, Minnesota Vikings 23
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gets a prime time opportunity to show he’s a worthy candidate for league MVP.
Last week’s record: 7-7
Thursday Twitter Pick record: 6-9
Overall record (through Week 12): 101-75
Perfect picks: 0
Contact Shane Dunaway via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyHome_Shane.