NFL Odds: Jets, Ravens in ESPN twin-bill

By: Jimmy Sirody | Monday, September 13, 2010

The New York Jets are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight season openers.

If New York Jets coach Rex Ryan creates a game-plan half as well as he curses, then his club is a lock at home against the Baltimore Ravens during the ESPN Monday night telecast.

After an offseason of big signings, and the team being the centerpiece of HBO's reality series Hard Knocks, the Jets have been the talk of the NFL.

But if it's a hard knocks brawl New York wants, the Ravens welcome it.

Ryan was the defensive line coach for the 2000 Ravens team that set an NFL record for fewest points allowed (165). The defense carried Baltimore to the Super Bowl title despite the team being so bereft of offense that at one point it went five straight games without scoring a touchdown.

During Ryan's 10 seasons in Charm City, the Ravens allowed fewer points than any other defense, as well as the fewest running yards.

However, Baltimore finally seems to realize what NFL teams unblessed by great defenses have recognized for years; you must score a lot to win consistently. The Ravens latest move came last week when they signed receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who will most likely be the third receiver.

Baltimore is expected to try more of a no-huddle offense this year with Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and Houshmandzadeh catching the ball. Because Donte' Stallworth is sidelined with a broke foot, Boldin must prove he can go vertical from the start Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw 72 passes of 20-plus yards in 2009. Boldin has been a deep target just 10 times in the past two seasons.

The Jets' success is dependent upon an excellent running game and the play of an absurdly talented cornerback. Neither is guaranteed (or even likely) to perform at the same level this season.

The good news is that quarterback Mark Sanchez's maturity should help the passing offense look more like last year's postseason and less like last year's regular season.

All-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis had one week of practice to get ready for Monday night's season opener. But that doesn't mean he'll be rusty. Revis kept himself in shape while AWOL.

If the Jets have to ask Sanchez to win the game by throwing the ball deep, they'll be in trouble. Baltimore will stack the box, send blitzes and dare him to make the plays he hasn't made in the preseason.

All eyes will be on Sanchez. However, left guard, not quarterback, could turn out to be New York's weakest link. The Jets cut Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca, and his potential replacements have been shaky.

The Ravens and Jets will be facing off for the first time since 2007. Baltimore has won four meetings in a row SU and cashed in five of the past six scuffles.

The Ravens have dropped seven of their last 11 as Monday night pups, but they have ‘covered' six straight in September.

The Jets are 2-4 in their last six as Monday night ‘chalk and 1-4 ATS on in their last five Monday night appearances.

New York is 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight season openers, but a dismal 3-14-1 ATS in its last 18 home lid-lifters.

The Jets have zipped ‘over' in five of their last six when toiling on Monday. Conversely, Baltimore has ducked below the limit in nine of its last 12 during Week 1 and in four of five on Monday.

Most offshore books monitored by the Don Best odds product opened New York as a three-point favorite, with the ‘total' set at 37 ½. Don't forget to check the weather forecast for this game, as well as the other Monday night game between the Chargers and Chiefs in Kansas City.


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