The New England Patriots are getting set to take on the Baltimore Ravens this weekend, in what is shaping up to be a pivotal match up, in terms of AFC playoff positioning. If the Pats win on Sunday, they clinch the AFC East division title, and punch their ticket to the postseason. The Ravens still control their own destiny for getting into the playoffs, but a loss to New England would really hurt their chances, particularly in winning their own division.
The weather always plays a big factor when December rolls around, and expect it to wreak havoc once again in this tilt. As it sits right now, there is a 40% chance of precipitation on Sunday, with the wind blowing close to 20 miles per hour. I don’t think that this will affect the passing game too much, although if that wind gets gusty, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see a few interceptions between the two sides. Tom Brady and Joe Flacco are both terrific bad weather quarterbacks, which could negate whatever bad weather mother nature throws at them. Holding onto the football may get tough for the skill positions from each side, especially for the Pats, as the Ravens still boast one of the most physical defensive units in the NFL.
I do think that this weather could impact the kicking game significantly, and when these two teams get together, that is always an issue. Stephen Gostkowski has had a terrific 2013 campaign, hitting 32 of the 35 field goals he has attempted thus far. He has also been extremely clutch, hitting two 53 yarders against Houston, and a slick onside kick two weeks ago versus the Browns. However as good as Gostkowski has been, Justin Tucker has been better. The Ravens’ placekicker drained his 33rd straight field goal last week against the Lions, a 61 yard game winner. As I said before, the weather could make it tough for these two guys to be as dominant as they have been, but if there were two kickers that could outdo rain and 20 mile an hour winds, it would be Gostkowski and Tucker.