Underdog Ravens feel 'disrespected' ahead of 49ers showdown

ByJamison Hensley ESPN logo
Thursday, December 21, 2023

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- In Baltimore's much-anticipated Monday night showdown at the San Francisco 49ers, the Ravens will be underdogs for just the second time this season. That role didn't sit well with some inside the locker room of the team that's tied for the best record in the NFL.

"We feel a little disrespected by that," Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton said. "I feel like we are the best team in the league, and we have an opportunity in front of the country to show it."

The Ravens (11-3) are a 5.5-point underdog against the 49ers (11-3), according to ESPN BET. This would be the second-largest underdog role of quarterbackLamar Jackson's six-year career.

Jackson and Baltimore were a seven-point underdog at the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. The Ravens lost to the Chiefs 27-24 in overtime in what was Jackson's fourth career NFL start.

"I don't want them to pick us," Jackson said. "I like being the underdog. I believe we play better when we're doubted and [when] people aren't choosing us to win the game. I feel like we play better all the time, so just do it all the way to February. That's all I ask."

Jackson has been favored in 62 of 75 career regular-season starts (82.7%). He is 9-4 (.692) outright as an underdog.

Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey said the size of the spread against San Francisco "hurt my feelings a little bit."

"I was surprised to see that," Humphrey said. "But I definitely want to make that incorrect for sure. And hopefully some people lose some money betting with them and make some money betting with us."

The only time Baltimore was not favored this season was Week 2 at Cincinnati. The Ravens upset the Bengals 27-24.

"I'm betting on us 10 out of 10 times," Ravens middle linebacker Roquan Smith said. "I don't really care too much about others' opinions."

Underdogs have won the past seven games on "Monday Night Football." It's the longest streak of underdogs winning outright in "Monday Night Football" history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Asked if being underdogs will be used in his messaging to the players, Ravens coach John Harbaugh smiled and said, "It was mentioned, sure."

The Ravens have a one-game lead over the Miami Dolphins (10-4) for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Baltimore can clinch its first AFC North title in four years with a win at the 49ers and a loss or tie by the Cleveland Browns, who play at the Houston Texans.

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