The NFL’s Christmas slate will end with a massive Monday Night Football matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. Both teams sit at 11-3 and hold the top seeds in the AFC and NFC, respectively.
The 49ers have been the most dominant team in the NFL this season. Outside of a fluky three-game losing streak early in the season, the 49ers have consistently won by large margins all year. The team is led by one of the NFL’s brightest offensive minds in head coach Kyle Shanahan, although the biggest factor in their success has been their ridiculously stacked roster. There’s All-Pro and Pro Bowl level talents at nearly every position group, led by the likes of RB Christian McCaffrey, T Trent Williams, WRs Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, TE George Kittle, QB Brock Purdy, DL Javon Hargrave and Nick Bosa, LB Fred Warner, and more. They’re the best and most dangerous team in the entire NFL until proven otherwise. The fact that they’re somehow six-point favorites against a very good Ravens team proves exactly that.
The Ravens’ road to success has been a bit tougher this year. They’re still not lacking in star power — quarterback Lamar Jackson is playing at an MVP level right now — but they’ve had to deal with several injuries, including starting running back J.K. Dobbins and elite tight end Mark Andrews, both of whom were lost to season-ending injuries this year. However, the Ravens have rebounded, with Odell Beckham Jr. and Isaiah Likely emerging as pass-catching threats and a committee-led running back approach, paired with Jackson’s excellent play, keeping them viable on offense. Pair that with one of the NFL’s best overall defenses and special teams units, and the Ravens have emerged as the AFC’s most consistent team. They’ll be the biggest obstacle the 49ers have faced this season.
How to watch Ravens vs. 49ers
Date: Monday, December 25
Where: Levi’s Stadium
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. ET
TV channel: ABC
Odds and predictions for Ravens vs. 49ers
Point spread: 49ers -6
Moneyline: Ravens +215, 49ers -265
Ravens-49ers pick against the spread
Like nearly everyone else, I predict that the 49ers will likely win this game. But the Ravens are a much better team than a six-point underdog, even against a team as talented as San Francisco. Everything about this game and the stakes surrounding it suggest a down-to-the-last-minute showdown that ends on a game-winning field goal. The 49ers are very good, but they’re not infallible, and a tough and constantly improving opponent like the Ravens will be a tough matchup. I don't see them losing this game by six points.
The pick: Ravens +6
Look at the rostered talent on both teams and you’ll see an even spread of defensive and offensive talent. This game could swing in either direction. But if you look at both teams’ stretches of games entering Monday, you’ll see that both have scored 30+ in four of their last six. These are high-powered offensive units looking to show off in primetime. The over seems like the smartest pick here.
The pick: Over 46.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.