The Ravens will face a defense that ranks 27th in pass DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The Panthers feature a gifted young cornerback in Jaycee Horn, a powerhouse defensive tackle in Derrick Brown and a productive edge rusher in Brian Burns (seven sacks, 12 QB hits), but they have struggled to cover tight ends and rank 19th in third-down defense. They rank ninth in blitz rate, so Jackson will have opportunities to attack them with quick throws and perhaps take a few deep shots.
The Panthers rank last in passing DVOA, and Mayfield lost the starting quarterback job after five weeks, regaining it for this game only because P.J. Walker suffered a high-ankle sprain.
Former Maryland star DJ Moore (478 yards, three touchdowns) is their most dynamic threat but has been inconsistent, catching just a hair more than half the balls thrown his way. The Panthers’ tackles and guards grade decently as pass blockers, but they will try to hold the fort against a Ravens pass rush that has taken off in recent weeks.
The Ravens won three in a row before getting last weekend off, and they’re a deep, confident team with a clear path to a divisional championship and a return to the postseason. They have traditionally handled their business against teams they’re supposed to beat with Jackson at quarterback and Harbaugh as their head coach.
Brian Burns hoping to keep Lamar Jackson in “phone booth” - Gantt & Stone
“I didn’t. Not the way it did,” Burns admitted when asked if he thought Jackson’s game would translate the way it has. “Not as dominant as it is. In college, he was dominant, and I didn’t think he’d be just as dominant as he was in college as in the NFL, but he is.”
That makes defending him a collective effort.
Panthers interim defensive coordinator Al Holcomb referred to the Ravens quarterback as “Houdini in a helmet,” and Burns said keeping Jackson from escaping was the top priority this week.
“Balanced rush lanes, pretty much just put him in a phone booth, and don’t let him out,” Burns said. “And you’ve got to have 10 of your guys coming behind you. . . .
“When you’re rushing, you don’t want the pocket to expand because that gives him the creases he can hit. But if you put him in a phone booth and condense it and have a lot of bodies around him, it’s hard to get out of there. The only way you can get out of there is going back.”
Burns is hoping one of those 10 guys coming behind him might be safety Jeremy Chinn, who practiced again Thursday and could return. They haven’t added Chinn to the active roster yet, but if they do, that helps.
“If there’s anybody that’s going to catch him, I put my money on Chinn,” Burns said. “So it would be good to have him back there in case anything goes wrong.”
Week 11 NFL game picks: Titans top Packers on Thursday night; Cowboys end Vikings’ win streak - Gregg Rosenthal
The Panthers are 2-3 since Steve Wilks took over, with their three competitive games all coming against division opponents. The Ravens are well equipped to force Baker Mayfield into bad decisions and knock down his passes with their monster front. Baltimore’s offense, meanwhile, has shown more cohesion in its run blocking since Ronnie Stanley returned. The Ravens are now the team we expected all along.
NFL Week 11 Picks and Predictions - Dalton Miller
Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Carolina has figured out how to be somewhat entertaining over the past few weeks, which is a far cry from where they were at the season’s start.
Baltimore has been one of the best teams in the league. They’re good on offense (third), defense (12th), and special teams (first), according to Football Outsiders DVOA. They’ve had the lead in each fourth quarter this season. Their passing attack and run game both excel, and their defense continues to improve as the season progresses.
Ravens 27, Panthers 17
Week 11 NFL Picks Against the Spread - Sheil Kapadia
Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens (-13)
The Ravens are coming off a bye and look like a team that’s about to go on a run. Their next four games are against the Panthers, Jaguars, Broncos and Steelers. According to Inpredictable, which measures schedule strength based on how the betting markets view teams, the Ravens have the easiest remaining slate in the NFL. At 6-3, they are one game out of the top seed, but Baltimore would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker against both the Dolphins and Bills.
The Panthers are 2-3 with Steve Wilks as their head coach and beat the Falcons last Thursday night. But with Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have gone 7-3-1 against the spread as double-digit favorites. I like the Ravens to win big.
The pick: Ravens (-13)
NFL picks against the spread - Vic Tafur
The Panthers (0-4) and Raiders (0-5) are the only teams without road wins, and that should continue this week. The Ravens, as we predicted, have won three straight games, covering the last two, and their defense is getting healthier and nastier. And Justin Houston seems to have found the fountain of youth — his 8.5 sacks are the third most by a player through a team’s first nine games in their age-33 or older season, and Houston has played in only six games.
That’s a bad matchup for a suspect offensive line — or is it still? — and Baker Mayfield, back at QB due to an injury to PJ Walker. And it doesn’t get any better on the other side of the ball, where the Panthers are 22nd in adjusted run defense EPA. Ravens RB Gus Edwards has returned to practice and Kenyan Drake has been running great, on top of what Jackson brings. (And the Ravens’ No. 1 passing target, tight end Mark Andrews, also returned to practice on Wednesday.)
There is a reason Jackson is 8-2 against the spread as a double-digit favorite. The Ravens run away from teams and then punish fools like Dalton (last week) and Mayfield.
The pick: Ravens -13