The Baltimore Ravens (7-5) and New England Patriots (10-2) look to add another exciting game to their bitter rivalry. This game has a playoff feel to it, and it very well could be a preview to a future matchup.
What better way for a Baltimore Ravens-New England Patriots game to be shown than prime time Monday Night Football?
Going into this matchup there are a lot of questions surrounding the Patriots’ offense and defense, and how they would perform against the Ravensm considering how they played against the New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams, who are both 4-9.
Both the Ravens and Patriots are 4-1 in their last five games, and are looking to continue their winning ways into the final stretch of the regular season.
- Since 2010, the Patriots are 4-1 at home vs. the Ravens
- Four of their last six matchups were decided by less than 4 points
- 2010: 23 – 20 (Patriots)
- 2011 AFC Championship: 23 – 20 (Patriots)
- 2012: 31 – 30 (Ravens)
- 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff: 35 – 31 (Patriots)
- The Ravens have the best 3rd-down defense in the league (33.3 percent), but are also ranked 30th in 3rd-down offense (34.1 percent).
Players To Watch
When healthy, Ravens’ tight end Dennis Pitta has given New England some trouble. In fact, Baltimore tight ends have usually had good games against the Patriots dating back to 2010 (Todd Heap, Pitta, Owen Daniels).
Last week against the Dolphins, Pitta finished with 9 receptions for 90 yards and two scores. Expect the Patriots defense to make limiting Pitta a focal point during the game.
With DT Haloti Ngata with the Detroit Lions, linebacker Terrell Suggs may see a lot more attention. At 34 years old, Suggs still has a gas left in the tank and is playing a high level (26 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 passes defensed).
Nothing would please him more than to have Tom Brady on the ground each and every time he drops back, so expect Suggs to see some extra attention.
Dion Lewis & James White
With the Patriots’ tight end position banged up at the moment, they have a deep backfield full of receiving backs. Running backs Dion Lewis and James White have yet to have games where they truly broke out — this could be the game.
New England will likely decide to spread the Ravens’ defense out, exploiting their defensive backs and linebackers. Josh McDaniels has been lining two running backs in the back field, expect to see a lot more this game.
Cyrus Jones/Justin Coleman
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With Eric Rowe dealing with a hamstring injury, cornerbacks Cyrus Jones or Justin Coleman will likely get the call. Both have had their struggles this season, so it will be interesting to see which player the Patriots’ decide to slide into the 3rd cornerback role.
Regardless of who sees the field (whether it’s one or both), they will have a tough task ahead.
Regardless out the outcome, expect this to be a dogfight. These two teams respect each other, but they certainly don’t like each other.
This rivalry has treated the NFL to great games in the past with exciting finishes. This one won’t be any different. The Ravens, despite their record, will give the Patriots a true run for their money as they are their most challenging opponent since playing the Seattle Seahawks.
Don’t be surprised however, if the Ravens are able to pull off an upset, which is something they aren’t shy about doing.