Week 16: Ravens (11-3) at 49ers (11-3)
Monday, December 25th at 8:15 p.m.
Levi’s Stadium (68,500)
The Ravens are 5-point underdogs (MGM Sportsbook)
How to Watch/Listen
Television: ABC/ESPN WMAR Ch. 2 (Baltimore)
National Radio: Westwood One Sports
Spanish Radio: La Mera Mera 1050 AM & WTTZ 93.5 FM (Tico Sports)
Stream: Fubo TV
The Ravens are 4-2 all-time against the 49ers, including its Super Bowl XLVII victory during the 2012 season. These teams last faced each other in 2019, when the Ravens won, 20-17, with a last-second, 49-yard field goal by Justin Tucker at M&T Bank Stadium.
By The Numbers
4.41 – An NFL-best yards-per-play average allowed by the Ravens’ defense this season.
For only the second time since the 1970 merger, two teams with a share of the league’s best record will meet in Week 16 or later. The only other game in that period involving teams that shared the league’s best record this late in a season was January 2, 1994, when Dallas defeated the New York Giants en route to victory in Super Bowl XXVIII.
Ravens: Total Offense: 5; Total Defense: 2
49ers: Total Offense: 2; Total Defense: 9
Ravens Game Plan
The Ravens’ offense continues to revolve around quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has thrown for 3,105 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also leads all NFL quarterbacks with 741 yards rushing and another five scores. The 49ers don’t have many weaknesses on defense, so the Ravens are going to have to make in-game adjustments to figure out the best ways to attack them.
The Ravens have the top rushing offense in the NFL with 163.8 yards per game, more than 20 yards ahead of the second-place Lions (140.9). However, rookie Keaton Mitchell, who emerged as the team’s most explosive running, is out for the season with a knee injury. The Ravens are ready to forge ahead with Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and veteran Melvin Gordon III, who has spent most of the year on the practice squad. San Francisco is stout against the run, allowing just 89.4 yards per game, which ranks third in the NFL. Linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw do a solid job making tackles. The Ravens need to establish the run to keep San Francisco’s explosive offense off the field.
Jackson is having success finding receivers downfield, Tight end Isaiah Likely has played well in the absence of Pro Bowler Mark Andrews, who is out with an ankle injury. The Ravens need to get rookie Zay Flowers more involved. Flowers leads the team with 680 yards receiving but had just two targets last week against Jacksonville. The Ravens also need a solid performance from their offensive line. The key will be containing defensive end Nick Bosa, who is a game-wrecker and has 10.5 sacks on the season. 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward is tied with Warner for a team-leading four interceptions. The 49ers are ranked 15th against the pass, allowing 220.6 yards per game. Jackson, however, should be able to find some seams to throw the ball.
San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy is having an MVP-caliber season, ranked second in the league with 3,795 yards passing with 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions. San Francisco is averaging 402.6 yards and 30.4 points per game. The 49ers have playmakers all over the field.
One of the Ravens’ main objectives is to contain 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, who leads the NFL with 1,292 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns. McCaffrey is also a threat as a receiver, so linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen are going to have a busy night. The Ravens are ranked 10th against the run, allowing 102.1 yards per game. They’ve given up chunks of yards on the ground over the past several games and they’ll need to play better against McCaffrey and the rest of the 49ers to win this game.
Purdy leads a high-powered passing attack that averages 262.6 yards per game, second in the NFL. His favorite target is Brandon Aiyuk, who has 1,090 yards receiving. However, fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel (787 yards receiving) is also capable of breaking open a game and is a tough player to tackle. San Francisco also has one of the best tight ends in the NFL in George Kittle (865 yards receiving). The Ravens’ secondary will be under pressure for much of the game. They’ll need cornerback Marlon Humphrey to be disruptive and possibly create a turnover. They hope safety Kyle Hamilton’s injured left knee is better because he will be a key player to stop the 49ers.
This is the toughest game of the season for each team and is being touted as a Super Bowl preview. The Ravens are underdogs and they generally play better in that role. Last week, the 49ers clinched the NFC West title and extended their winning streak to six games with a 45-29 win over the Cardinals. During that winning streak, the 49ers have won all of their games by at least 12 points. Even if they lose this game, the Ravens still control their destiny for the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Look for the Ravens to pull off a minor upset in front of a national audience.
Ravens 28, 49ers 26