2. The Ravens sport the kind of defense that could give the Patriots fits… so cheer for the Chargers.
Ask Patriots fans which AFC team they’d least like to face in the playoffs this year, and there’s a great chance you’ll hear the same answer from many of them. With all due respect to the Chiefs and the Chargers, the Ravens might be the scariest threat in the conference.
We know that New England will face either the Ravens, Chargers, or Texans in the next round. A little bit of statistical analysis shows us that of those three potential opponents, the Ravens by far represent the most difficult defensive matchup. They boast the No. 1 defense in all the NFL in yards allowed; they’re No. 2 in points allowed as well.
That’s a recipe for disaster should Indianapolis beat Houston on Saturday and then Baltimore beat Los Angeles on Sunday. With those results unfolding, the Colts would travel to Arrowhead and the Ravens would flock to Foxborough.
As much as Pats fans might like to think a game against the Ravens would be strength-on-strength, that’s really pretty far from the case. In previous seasons that analysis would hold water, as prior incarnations of the Brady-led offense seemed to put up points without trying sometimes.
This year’s offense isn’t quite like those. New England’s O might have finally looked the part in Week 17, but that was also against a weak Jets team missing the majority of its best weapons and with nothing significant to play for.
Long stretches of this season have been defined by the offense’s inability to find and/or maintain any sense of rhythm and identity. The Patriots would be much better-served having a chance to correct that narrative against a team like the Texans or the Chargers, who both have great defenses in their own right… just not quite on the same lethal level as the Ravens.