Vikings vs Ravens: It’s the battle for superiority among the NFL’s purple teams. Who will take home the victory in Week 9 — Minnesota or Baltimore? Here’s everything you need to know about the Vikings vs. Ravens matchup, including NFL odds, channel options, and a score prediction.

In recent years, the Baltimore Ravens have been at least one step ahead of the Vikings as a franchise. Nothing has changed in that regard in 2021. Heading into Week 9, the Ravens are 5-2 and leading the AFC North. The Vikings, meanwhile, are coming off a prime-time loss to Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush. They’re 3-4, but a weak NFC is dragging them into the Wild Card conversation against their will.

Against the spread (ATS), the Ravens and Vikings are a bit closer. Minnesota is 2-5 against the spread, while Baltimore is 3-4. For the Ravens, one loss ATS came in a close 19-17 win over the Lions. Another came in a 31-25 outing against Indianapolis. Against Indianapolis, the spread was -7.

How to watch Vikings vs Ravens this week

For the Vikings, despite their lowly record against the spread, every game but one has been decided by just one possession. For better or worse, the Vikings seem to be cursed with playing up and down to their competition. Thus, the slightly higher point total of 50.5 makes sense.

Vikings vs Ravens prediction

If the Ravens are able to put up points against Minnesota’s defense, the Vikings are well-practiced playing catch-up. Much of this is due to Mike Zimmer’s tendency to rely on the run and conservative play-calling early on in games.

The Vikings aren’t built to control the time of possession battle — and yet, they defer to that strategy far too often. Against Dallas, it was all too apparent. Minnesota’s offense funneled itself into a corner and struggled to move the football while the Cowboys tested the boundaries.

To be fair, the Ravens aren’t coming off of a particularly inspiring outing, either. Baltimore had a bye in Week 8, but last time the Ravens were on the field, they lost 41-17 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens’ defense was inconsistent in that game, and there have been issues with chemistry at times between Lamar Jackson and his receivers. Jackson is having a good year, but things still need to mesh on that side of the ball.

Who bounces back in this Vikings vs Ravens matchup?

On the surface, this game is somewhat intriguing. However, I’m going with the Ravens to win and cover at home. There are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost, the Vikings’ defense hasn’t been great this year. The secondary has been prone to ill-timed mistakes, and the pass rush recently lost Danielle Hunter for the year to a torn pectoral. That’s a huge loss for Minnesota, and it alleviates some pressure off of Baltimore’s line.

Additionally, the Ravens have had no trouble generating pressure of their own on the defensive side of the ball. Thus far, Baltimore is tied for second in the league in pressure rate (27%).

First-round pick Odafe Oweh has been a valuable catalyst, as has veteran offseason addition Justin Houston. For a Minnesota’s offensive line that still struggles in pass protection, Baltimore’s front is not an easy matchup.

It starts in the trenches, and that’s where Baltimore has the most valuable edge right now. Baltimore’s offensive line isn’t great. However, Minnesota is now less equipped to exploit that. And even if they had Hunter, Jackson is one of the most dynamic off-script passers in the NFL. That dynamism should help the Ravens earn a routine non-conference victory.

Vikings vs Ravens prediction: Ravens 33, Vikings 23

By imhs29