The best game of the week and possibly the season kicks off early, as the 49ers travel to take on the red hot Ravens in Baltimore. Both teams sit atop their division, but the 49ers have a slim advantage of one game over the Seahawks and have lost to them for the only blemish on their record. The Ravens have a commanding lead over the Steelers and should coast as division winners.
Both teams are locks to make the playoffs but have plenty to play for in these last five games. The 49ers need to hold off Seattle to win the division while also working for the highest playoff seeding they can muster while the Ravens are the biggest threat to the Patriots for the No. 1 seeding in the AFC, having already beaten them head-to-head.
The Ravens are favored by -5.5 points at home, which is an anomaly for a 10-1 team to be underdogs, but the Ravens have also won seven in a row and have averaged 35 points per game on the season, with an average scoring margin of 16.7 points.
The 49ers also showed they could blow out good competition last week with a 37-8 destruction of the Packers in San Francisco. There is no doubt these teams should make for an entertaining and high-quality matchup between the best in the league.
The main trouble the 49ers will have finishing out the season is a schedule packed with tough matchups — the Ravens, of course, plus the Saints and Seahawks. On top of the degree of difficulty of these games, all three are on the road. The two easier games remaining on their schedule are against the Falcons and Rams. With a one-game lead over a Seattle team that already won in San Francisco, they are going to have to play great to win their division.
The Ravens schedule gets easier after this game as they face the Bills, Jets, Browns, and Steelers. Playing in Buffalo will be a test, but the other three are extremely winnable. They will need to keep winning if they want to pass the Patriots in a race for the No. 1 seed.
49ers: Off the board
Ravens: Off the board
49ers: -1250 to win NFC West (Seahawks next at +170)
Ravens: -10000 to win AFC North: (Steelers next at +2500)