Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Can the Ravens finally beat the Patriots?

After coming off of an impressive game against the basement dwelling Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens head into Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. In the Ravens' fourteen-year existence, they have never beaten the Patriots. The city of Baltimore will hope that their luck changes this upcoming Sunday as the Ravens try to remain at the top of the NFL as one of the only remaining undefeated teams. After this past Sunday, the AFC has 3 other undefeated teams, the Colts, the Jets, and the Broncos, and the NFC has 3 undefeated teams, the Giants, the Saints, and the Vikings.

Against the Browns, the Ravens only surrendered one field goal in the 34-3 victory. The Ravens only allowed 186 total yards while gaining an astounding 479 yards. These statistics are very promising as the Ravens prepare to take on one of the league's best offenses of this decade. In the Patriots victory this past Sunday, they were able to put up 26 points while accumulating 445 total yards against the Atlanta Falcons while virtually shutting down their offense, only allowing 10 points and 257 total yards. Something is going to have to give come this Sunday, let's all just hope that the Ravens defense is going to be able to get pressure on Tom Brady and that our secondary will be able to contain the formidable Randy Moss and, if he plays, the speedy little Wes Welker.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the unforgettable match-up in Baltimore on December 3, 2007 when a late roughing the passer penalty on Bart Scott prompted him to take the penalty flagand through it into the stands, showing the frustration both of that drive by the Patriots, but also of the disappointing season by the Ravens. The penalty on Scott was followed by a game winning touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Jabar Gaffney with 44 seconds left in the game. This win by the Patriots helped propell them to an undefeated regular season where they went on to loose to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Needless to say, this match-up on Sunday is one of the most compelling ones of the weekend with many eyes watching every play of this game. With the Ravens remaining at the top spot on many NFL power rankings, the New England Patriots are not far behind at the number seven position. The main match-up within the game to look out for is the Ravens cornerbacks against the Patriots receivers. Another one that I plan on keeping a close eye on is the Ravens pass rush against the Patriots offensive line. If the Ravens can flush Brady out of the pocket and get to him a few times, they should be able to rattle him enough, making him make mistakes. Hopefully the Ravens will be able to do this with a three or four man rush, because the more people that are rushing Brady, the less people that the secondary will have helping them in coverage.

Let me know what you think Baltimore... Is it Sunday yet?

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