Tag Archives: Joe Flacco

Patriots v. Ravens: How They Match Up

After a much deserved Bye Week, the Patriots return to action on Saturday against the pesky Baltimore Ravens in Foxboro. Of course the team from Baltimore is very familiar with Gillette Stadium, especially in the postseason, as they are the only team to ever beat the Patriots there twice in the playoffs. Those wins were in the 2009 and 2012 seasons and Terrell Suggs and the militia of Ravens fans will never let the Patriots forget about those seasons.The Patriots will try to avenge both of those loses, and if they don’t, this season will be considered an enormous failure to the franchise.


Those games will mean nothing when the game starts on Saturday afternoon. Here’s how these two teams matchup:

Rushing Attack: Most people may have assumed that without Ray Rice, the Ravens would struggle with running the ball effectively. In reality, Baltimore has had more rushing yards they they’ve had in 5 season. Justin Forsett has led the way for the Ravens with over 1,000 yards on the season and 8 rushing touchdowns. The New England defense gave up an average of 104 yards per game in the regular season, but that number is a bit inflated due to the terrible start by the club. They gave up 191 rushing yards in week 1, and then in week 4 gave up 207 in the embarrassing Monday Night loss to the Chiefs.

The Patriots Run game has been what we normally expect from the Patriots. Ridley missed more half the year with an injury, and occasionally a running back will have a big game for the Patriots like Jonas Gray against the Colts. As seen during the Green Bay game, if the run doesn’t seem to work early, the Patriots completely abandon it, and go strictly to a passing game.

Advantage: Ravens

Passing Game: Joe Flacco has been known to air the ball out from time to time. He has success with that, and Steve Smith Sr., and Tory Smith are usually on the same page as him. He’s no Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but he’s proven he can get the job done when it matters. He is not “The best QB in the game” as his coach John Harbaugh claims, but somehow he wins playoff games. He’s thrown for 13 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions in his last 5 playoff games. Those stats are a little scary. As all of Baltimore has tried pointing out to me all week, Flacco also has the most road playoff wins in NFL history. That’s great, but a bit of a deceiving stat, considering great quarterbacks like Peyton and Brady haven’t had the opportunity to play on the road as much because of their regular season dominance.   Read more

Reasons Why You Should Hate the Ravens (In Case You Forgot)

On Saturday afternoon, the football team from Baltimore will come into Gillette Stadium to face the #1 team in the AFC. The Ravens are no strangers to playing in New England during the postseason. In fact they are only one of two opposing teams to win a game at Gillette after week 17, and they’ve done it twice in the past 5 years. If the history between these two teams doesn’t make you hate the Ravens, I can help with why you should hate them.

1.)    Terrell Suggs.


Suggs should be all the reason you need to hate the Baltimore Ravens franchise. He talked a lot of smack about the Patriots on different occasions. If he gets his ass beat by the Patriots he runs his mouth and accuses of them of cheating. If he beats the Patriots, he still runs his mouth in the most unsportsmanlike way.

Of course the Ravens had Ray Rice on this team until the start of the year, but somehow Suggs is still on this roster just because there was no video of him beating a woman. According to a 2009 report from the Baltimore Sun, Suggs beat his now wife on multiple occasions, and the one highlighted by the report detailed how he tried to pour bleach on Candace Williams.

So the lesson here kids is, if you want to play for the Ravens you can be as horrible as you want so long as there’s no video of the incident.

2.)    Worst Fans in all of the NFL.

I’ve experienced 31 teams come into Gillette, and Baltimore fans are by the far the worst when they come to New England. First of all they all wear these UGLY purple Camo pants.

I’m not a fashionista, but wearing something that ugly should be punishable by death.

camo pants

They all sing that horrible White Stripes song “Seven Nation Army”, y’know the one that every college marching band plays and every student sings along to. Pink Hats singing “Sweet Caroline” isn’t half bad after you’ve experienced these horrible people sing the White Stripes for 3 hours straight. In general, the Ravens have been the most disrespectful towards me at the stadium, and for no reason. They are this way even during a week 3 regular season game.

These Ravens fans gave Ray Rice a STANDING OVATION at training camp AFTER the incident in which he beat his wife. Not only were they satisfied with him only getting a 2 game ban, but they were ready to build him a statue for what he did.

I’ve crossed into enemy territory and have seen the Patriots play in Philadelphia. A place that is supposed to be the scariest place to wear opposing colors to a game. Compared to Baltimore fans, Philly fans seemed like Mr. Rogers. Way more friendly and respectful than fans of Baltimore. It’s not just Ravens fans who are horrible; it’s all Baltimore sports fans. Oriole’s fans are just as bad and would always talk smack to opposing fans even when their team was in the toilet.

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Patriots Embarrass Ravens In Baltimore

Last year, the Patriots lost to the Ravens twice. Once on a Monday night in Baltimore, and again in the AFC Championship game at Gillette that ended the Patriots season. Every time the Patriots play the Ravens they seem to struggle. Not on Sunday. For the first time all season, the Patriots played good football for a full 60 minutes, and blew out Baltimore 41-7.

LeGarrette Blount

Before the game started the Patriots clinched the AFC East title for the fifth straight year when the Miami Dolphins lost to the Buffalo Bills, and they put themselves in position for a first-round bye with the win over the Ravens. All the Patriots need to do is win next week in order to get the first round bye.

After going 3 and out on the first drive of the game, the Patriots forced the Ravens to punt, and on the next drive, the Patriots scored a touchdown on a 1 yard run by LaGarrette Blount, that was set up by a Pass Interference call on the Baltimore defense when Tom Brady tried to go deep down the field to Julian Edelman in the end zone.

Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco threw a pass intercepted by rookie, Logan Ryan on the next drive, and six plays later, Brady found Shane Vereen for a 4 yard touchdown to make it 14-0. That would be all the scoring the Patriots would need to defeat the Ravens, thanks to the great defense that stepped up for the Patriots.

Down 17-0 early in the 3rd quarter, the Ravens attempted a 4th conversion on 4th and 3 from the Patriots 39, but the Patriots Defense denied the Flacco, and on the next Ravens drive, Logan Ryan again came up with another interception to keep the Ravens off the scoreboard. After another Patriots field goal, the Ravens went for another 4th down conversion and again failed to convert.

On 4th down at the Patriots 19 yard line in the 4th quarter, the Ravens finally decided to try to get on the board with a field goal, but Kicker Justin Tucker, who broke the longest field goal record last week, missed an easy field goal, and the Patriots again got the ball back without the Ravens scoring.

Despite the dominance from the Patriots defense, the team still let the Ravens hang around as it was still just a 3 possession game, and after the Patriots were forced to punt, Flacco rushed for a touchdown after a questionable pass interference penalty was called on the Patriots. That made the game just a 13 point game with still over 9 minutes to play.

The Ravens forced the Patriots 3 and out, but the Ravens couldn’t score on the next drive again failing to convert on 4th down. From there the Patriots finally got into the end zone for the first time since the 1st quarter when Blount rushed for a 7 yard touchdown making the score 27-7 with just 2:05 to play.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jacoby Jones ran the ball out of the end zone and was stopped at the 3. However Baltimore challenged that Jones’ foot was out of bounds when he caught the kickoff, and they won the challenge to get the ball at the 20 yard line. With the Ravens wasting everybody’s time by challenging in a game that was already over, karma came and bit them hard.

On the 1st play, the backup Quarterback Tyrod Taylor fumbled the ball and Chandler Jones fell on the ball in the end zone for another Patriots TD. With the Ravens still throwing the ball on the next drive, Tavon Wilson picked off Taylor and returned it to the end zone to make it 41-7.

It was a sweet tasting victory for the Patriots since they always seem to struggle against the Ravens. The blowout was the biggest Ravens loss at home in franchise history, and put the Ravens playoff chances in jeopardy.

Next week the Patriots need to win to guarantee a first round bye. If they don’t win, and Cincinnati defeats the Ravens, the Patriots will have to play in the wild card game the following week.

NFL Week 16 Preview : Patriots @ Ravens

Playoff implications are on the line in Week 16 in Baltimore. Who will come to play?

After a 4-6 start, the Baltimore Ravens have won their last four – making a strong late season push to return to the playoffs for the sixth straight campaign. The rematch of last year’s AFC Championship was originally scheduled for Sunday Night Football, but got flexed to 4:25 in favor of the Bears vs. Eagles. Including the playoffs, the Ravens are 3-3 against the Patriots over the past six years. This non-division rivalry reached new heights when Baltimore denied New England a chance to play in the Super Bowl last year, embarrassing the Patriots in Gillette Stadium 28-13 and then hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

Sitting a game behind the 9-5 Bengals, the Ravens have clawed their way back to wildcard legitimacy despite their worst rushing production in recent years of 82.9 YPG. Ray Rice is averaging a subpar (to say the least) 3.1 YPC, but has always found success against the Patriots. New England is coming off the wrong end of their fifth straight game decided by one score or less with a 24-20 last second loss in Miami. This is easily the most adversity a Patriots team has faced in the Belichick era, off-season departures and season-ending injuries are truly beginning to dictate just how much gas is left in the tank as we approach January football.

Brady couldn’t be more accurate with his statement after the Dolphins game, “There is a small margin of error”. The team is young and with inexperience comes mistakes. Without the security blanket of Gronk in the lineup, Tom has relied on Julian “Minitron” Edelman as his go-to. Jules has 89 receptions for 914 yards and 6 TD but the efficiency lost in the Red Zone seems irreplaceable. Outside of that consistent production, no one player has been a staple every given sunday. For the second straight week, the Pats have an opportunity to lock up their fifth straight AFC East title. Because the Steelers beat the Bengals last week, the Patriots are still in line to receive the 2 seed if they win out. What will give tomorrow afternoon? Can New England take the next step in restoring the faith or does Baltimore stay hot and give the Pats a reality check? Weather is calling for a 60 degree day with thunderstorm possibilities, here’s to hoping we don’t see a repeat of the brutal Cincinnati conditions. Check out these three keys to victory for an important late-season matchup for Belichick and company:

1) Contain Torrey Smith: Despite a modest total of 59 receptions and 4 TD, the UMaryland burner has 1,032 yards on the season. Smith has recorded a grab of 40+ yards in 8 games this year with a long of 74. Week after week, the Patriots have been burned over the top from the likes of Mike Wallace, Josh Gordon, Andre Johnson and more. These impact plays occur far too often, illustrating a glaring weakness aside from the depleted defensive line.

New England is allowing 132.5 rushing YPG, putting them at the bottom of the pack at 31st in the NFL. Assuming Ray Rice returns to normality with the porous front seven, limiting the Flacco to Torrey connection is imperative. Furthermore, TE Dennis Pitta made his 2013 debut two weeks ago – filling the void that the Boldin departure created. Flacco has 18 TD and 17 INT on the season. He is on pace to record the largest amount of passing attempts and turnovers in his career. If Chandler and Nink are able to win their respective matchups, it will be a long day for the Ravens offense. McCourty and Gregory also need to have solid performances over the top at safety if New England wants any chance to escape with a victory.

2) Special Teams: For as clutch and consistent as Gostkowski has been this year, he killed the Patriots last week with his third missed field goal of the season and an untimely kickoff out-of-bounds. This ultimately allowed Miami to score that go-ahead touchdown and forced New England to score a TD in the last seconds compared to a manageable chip shot. On the other side of the ball, the Ravens have one of the most dangerous returners in Jacoby Jones. He has one touchdown on the season but is always a threat to take it all the way. Baltimore placekicker Justin Tucker had a legendary performance last week with six field goals and a game winning 61 yarder. The third phase of the game will be an important factor in the outcome of tomorrow’s contest. Execution is key.

3) Linebacker Play: Dont’a Hightower and Dane Fletcher have been the recipients of additional playing time after Mayo’s season-ending pectoral injury. While Fletcher made some game-changing plays against Denver, Hightower struggled brutally in coverage against Miami last week. Yancy Thigpen caught a 14 yard TD pass with 1:15 left in which had Dont’a turned around and played the ball, he would have easily intercepted Tannehill’s game-winning pass. Hightower is solid in the run but has not been able to make enough plays when they matter. The Rice/Pierce backfield is an above average tandem and this game will be physical. The Ravens have weapons all over the field and the Patriots will need to cause a turnover if they want to get this done on the road.

These teams don’t like each other and playoff implications are on the line. What more could you ask for? I believe the Patriots can get it done with some timely luck that seems to alternate week in and week out. 21-18 New England.

Patriots Match-Up Mania: Playoffs?

Tom Brady practices for the Ravens.

Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs. Are you kidding me? Playoffs? I’m just hoping we can win a game, another game.” – Jim Mora.

Certain games defy analysis of important match-ups. When the New England Patriots travel to Baltimore to meet the Ravens on Sunday, that’s the situation each team faces.

Rivals who know each other after six battles in four seasons, only one of which was truly one-sided. It comes down to a cliche bowl: Who wants it more. The best team wins. Something like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are certain factors that could sway the outcome either way. Will receivers catch balls that hit their hands? Danny Amendola. Turnovers? Stevan Ridley. Stop Joe Flacco and Ray Rice? Defense.

In short, as Bill Belichick described it, it’s a big game requiring the Pats best effort of 2013:

We know this is a big challenge for us headed down there Sunday. It’s a big game for both teams and I think we’re excited to play, excited for the opportunity and the challenge and we’ll need our best football from everybody…That’s what it will take down there I’m sure. That’s what we’re gearing up for, that’s what we’ll try to be. The Ravens are a very good football team. They have a real solid organization and they’re tough. We’ll need to be at our best to beat them.

There’s a big reward awaiting the Pats if they overcome this challenge and that’s a clinched playoff spot and a fifth-straight AFC title. Just win and be in. Going into game 16 without punching a playoff ticket is a bad thing. Tom Brady, who has had a frustrating season despite 4,000+ yards passing – again – is aware of the implications. “We need it,” Brady said. “There’s no bigger game than this one for us. ”

He also made a comment that summed up the season well, too.:

It would be nice to go out there and play this team and play them well for once. We haven’t done a great job playing against them offensively.

There are certainly reasons for it, but how many times this season have they put it all together against a good team? A bad half followed by a display of offensive prowess. Good defense combined with turnovers and poor third-down execution. You’ve seen it.

Before they can worry about playoffs, they need to be playing good football.

BST&N’S 2013 NFL Predictions From The Playoffs To Individual Awards


It’s almost here, but if you weren’t excited enough about the NFL returning in a couple weeks, here are a few more reasons. It’s time to make some predictions that will inevitably have clear cut outomes and boggle the minds of some while sparking some pretty intense debates. I think I have them all right, though. Here are my picks for all eight division winners, the four Wild Card teams, each conference’s championship matchup, the Super Bowl, league leaders and major award recipients.

AFC East (2): Patriots – Nine straight division titles when the team has been quarterbacked by Tom Brady? Yeah, make it 10 for New England. While they undoubtedly will be transitioning on the field this season, they are still fairly high above the other three teams in the division. Plus, their quarterback never runs into butts.

AFC North (4): Bengals – Get used to hearing “Dalton to Green” and get used to seeing the Bengals in the postseason (even if it is just for one game) for the third straight year. Cleveland will probably finish fourth.

AFC South (3): Colts – The Colts made an unbelievable turnaround in 2012 and it seems to me they are not done improving. Eleven wins last season was good, but I see them hitting at least 12 this year, including making a push to overtake the Texans late in the year with a huge win over them in Week 15.

AFC West (1): Broncos – Obviously. This one will probably be the biggest division win by any team this season. I say 14-2 for Denver with San Diego the closest to them at 7-9. Welker…and Decker…and Thomas might play a role in their success as well.

Peyton Manning wil lead the Broncos to another division title.

Peyton Manning wil lead the Broncos to another division title.

AFC Wild Card (5): Texans – Houston has three of the best players in the league in Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and J.J. Watt. The supporting cast is not bad either and Matt Schaub obviously has what it takes to lead a team to the postseason. I just think the Colts will steal the division from them sooner or later and Houston will wind up in the five-spot.

AFC Wild Card (6): Ravens – Though their defense is gong to look quite different, the Ravens should be able to get enough out of Joe Flacco to back in to the playoffs as the conference’s No.6 seed. From there, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were bounced immediately as I’m a little wary that Flacco might have nothing left to motivate him.

NFC East (3): Redskins – As long as RG’s knee can hold up for 16 games, the Redskins are poised to repeat as NFC East champs. He will be an x-factor for them this season, leading them to big wins over the Packers, Falcons and Giants and clinching this division before the final night of the season.

NFC North (4): VikingsAdrian Peterson will carry them to the division title in 2013. That’s really the only way I see that happening for the Vikes, who will have to contend with the Packers and maybe even the Lions or Bears. Green Bay finishes a very close second, but will be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

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