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The Ravens are playing host on Sunday at 1:00 ET, and Lamar Jackson is rested and ready after signing a huge contract during the offseason. He has 261 million reasons to be in a positive frame of mind heading into the opener: the $260 million payday along with a new-look offense.
Baltimore hired veteran coach Todd Monken to coordinate the offense, and he will be calling the plays. He was the offensive coordinator for the University of Georgia over the last two years when they won consecutive national championships.
Monken originally adopted the “Air Raid” shotgun, pass-first scheme at Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy. He certainly has a lot to work with in Baltimore with Jackson, Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and Mark Andrews in the fold.
C.J. Stroud’s First NFL Game
The Texans were 3-13-1 a year ago, and that’s the bad news, but the second pick in the draft was the good news. They used it to select quarterback C.J. Stroud from Ohio State, and he will get the start when the Texans take the field against the Ravens on Sunday.
His weapons include tight and Dalton Schultz, who was signed to a one-year contract worth $9 million, Noah Brown, veteran Robert Woods, and Nico Collins. Observers at training camp reported a particularly good rapport developing between Stroud and Schultz.
Overall, the Texans were 27th in the league last year in team defense, and Baltimore was third, so there is a huge gap on that side of the ball if these teams duplicate their efforts from a year ago.
Plus, you have a rookie quarterback playing his first regular season game, which is a very tough assignment.
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After analyzing the data, we think that Stroud will be up against it on the road against the Ravens’ defense. The Houston running game with Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary could relieve some pressure, but if Baltimore jumps out in front, Stroud will be forced to throw.
Eight of the last nine Ravens home games have gone under the total, and we question the Houston offense with a debuting QB in a hostile environment. The total is 44 at DraftKings and 43.5 at BetRivers at the time of this writing.
All things considered, we like the under, and we will also go with the J.K. Dobbins to score a touchdown prop, which is +105 at DraftKings when this is being written.