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.
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