The New England Patriots have their hardest game of the season thus far in week three as they take on the Baltimore Ravens. Fortunately for the team, this game is their home opener, and after a thrilling week two win, the fans are likely to be going crazy.
A whopping eight teams in the AFC are currently 1-1, and falling to 1-2 before the team takes on the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions could be a slight disaster. It’s extremely important that the Patriots are able to get a win on Sunday.
They’ll have the home crowd on their side, but will have to pay close attention to a few players.
Ravens’ players for Patriots to watch out for in week three
Mark Andrews is one of the five best tight ends in the NFL. The 27 year old recently signed a massive contract extension, and accumulated 1,361 receiving yards last year to go with nine touchdowns.
The former Oklahoma Sooner is 6’5″, 256 pounds and ran a 4.67 at the NFL combine. He’s got the size, blocking ability, and the speed to create a massive threat to opposing defenses. He’s also a favorite redzone target of Lamar Jackson.
In his first four seasons in the NFL, Andrews hauled in 29 touchdown catches, which is about seven per season, and he has a touchdown catch already, along with 18 targets, which would put him at 153 for the season if that holds up.
Rashod Bateman is a big-bodied receiver who was projected by many to have a breakout season. The second year product played in 12 games in 2021 during his rookie season and hauled in 46 receptions for 515 yards.
In 2022, he’s already at 167 receiving yards, which leads the team, and already has two touchdown catches. He also has a 75 yard touchdown catch and can outrun many defenders with his sub-4.40 speed. Not only that, his large frame makes him a full threat as a receiver.
Whoever ends up lining up with Bateman, likely Jalen Mills, will have to play their best game to date to ensure that Lamar Jackson is unable to frequently target Bateman on Sunday.
With the Ravens trading away Hollywood Brown, Bateman is their most notable and proven receiver, while only being in his second year. The Patriots should strive to try to neutralize either Andrews or Bateman on Sunday. This would force the Ravens to get a bit more one dimensional.
Lamar Jackson is the most dynamic player in the NFL, and is already the best running quarterback in NFL history. He leads the Ravens is rushing by a mile and also has six touchdown passes to just one interception so far this year.
He completes about 64% of his passes and currently has a 120.1 passer rating. For all who said Jackson couldn’t throw, you’re being proven wrong. I understand it’s early, but Jackson is on pace to have another MVP caliber season.
Whether he’s throwing it down the field or making plays with his legs, Lamar Jackson is a huge threat with the ball in his hand. The defense will have to do a good job at trying to keep him in the pocket. Hopefully they are able to crash the edges enough to do so.
Jackson does most of his damage when he leaves the pocket. Speedy guys like Mack Wilson are going to need chase him down in the open field. Fortunately, the Patriots are a faster defense than they have been, so hopefully they can limit the damage he does on the ground.
However they do it, the Patriots will need to focus their defensive gameplan around Lamar Jackson if they want to win on Sunday.