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Ravens-49ers staff picks: Who will win Sunday’s game in Baltimore?

Jen Badie, editor

Ravens 28, 49ers 17: While the 49ers have the No. 1 overall defense, they only rank No. 19 in defending the run, which of course plays right into the Ravens’ strengths. The weather forecast also looks terrible, seemingly an advantage for the Ravens and their run game. The 49ers have the No. 2 rush offense in the league but they’re also averaging 65 fewer yards a game than the No. 1 Ravens. At this juncture, after watching them dismantle the best teams in the league over and over, it seems silly to pick against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.

C.J. Doon, editor

Ravens 27, 49ers 20: This is the toughest team the Ravens have faced all season, but quality of opponent hasn’t mattered. The Ravens are the first team in NFL history to defeat each of the previous year’s Super Bowl participants by 17 points or more and the first team to win four straight games against winning teams by a total margin of 90-plus points. Since their head-scratching loss to the Browns, it’s been Ravens 251, Opponents 102. San Francisco has the league’s best defense, but as we saw when the Patriots brought their league-best unit to Baltimore, even that won’t be enough to stop MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson.

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Daniel Oyefusi, reporter

Ravens 23, 49ers 17: For all the talk about the challenges of making a cross-country trip to play the Rams on Monday night, traveling back home on a short week to face the NFC’s best team days after Thanksgiving might be tougher. The 49ers present the best collective defensive front the Ravens have faced all season but San Francisco surprisingly allows the eighth-most yards per carry (4.7). That’s music to the ears of quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ top rushing attack. On defense, I expect the Ravens to place emphasis on San Francisco’s zone running scheme and force quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to win the game.

Mike Preston, columnist

Ravens 24, 49ers 21: The 49ers’ speed and quickness on defense will present the Ravens offense with challenges but the Ravens will win because they have too much overall balance on both offense and defense. Plus, I am not sure the 49ers will be able to run against the Ravens’ front seven.

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Peter Schmuck, columnist

Ravens 30, 49ers 20: The Ravens will be playing on short rest while the 49ers will be coming off a coast-to-coast flight and adjusting to the time zone difference, so the logistical issues are probably a push. So, it’s just a matter of whether the Niners can do what several other top-flight teams could not — slow Lamar Jackson’s roll. I’m guessing not.

Jonas Shaffer, reporter

Ravens 30, 49ers 28: A potentially rainy afternoon is the X factor in this game, but it’s hard to pick against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens at this point. They’ve already taken care of another elite defense at home, beating up on the New England Patriots in Week 9. Defensive tackle Michael Pierce’s availability will be critical against a strong 49ers line.

Childs Walker, reporter

Ravens 30, 49ers 24: The 49ers, with their athletic defensive front and talented secondary, might be the best team the Ravens have faced this season. But the Ravens are more balanced and playing better than any team in the league, with an offense well-suited to attack San Francisco’s relative weakness against the run. For the first time in more than a month, we won’t see a blowout, but the Ravens will outpace the NFC’s best in front of an energetic home crowd.

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