The Ravens are (2-9) vs. the Patriots in regular season play, including an (0-6) mark in Foxborough. In the postseason, however, the Ravens are (2-2) against New England, with both wins coming at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are fresh off a 17-14 win over the Steelers while the Ravens are coming off a humiliating kick in the crotch 42-38 loss to the Miami Dolphins. This contest features two of the NFL’s nineteen (1-1) teams.
The Ravens were initially listed as 3-point road favorites and up to now the line has seen little movement.
With that in mind, let’s get to our predictions…
Most analysts expect the Patriots to manage field position, attempt to win the turnover battle and essentially take the air out of the football to keep the game tight in order to close it out with a “W”. That seems to be the Tom Brady-less Patriot Way. Vegas expects the same with a low-end over/under number of 43. But it won’t play out that way.
Last week Patriots QB Mac Jones went 21-for-35 through the air for 252 yards including a scoring strike to Nelson Agholor who caught six of Jones’ passes for 110 yards and the big contested catch for a TD, all against a normally stingy Steelers defense. The Patriots offensive brain trust was likely left salivating after watching the Ravens 4th quarter defensive debacle. Granted, the Pats don’t have Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle running track on the perimeter but the Ravens 32nd-ranked pass defense has to look inviting.
On the other hand, the Ravens offense, outside of the running game, looked great v. Miami and the O-line kept Lamar Jackson clean. Despite a sore elbow, Lamar’s hot hand will continue. The question is will it be enough to outscore New England? In a word, “Yes!”
• Lamar will connect on four scoring tosses, with one each going to Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely. Jackson will throw for over 300 yards but he will be picked off once in the red zone.
• The Ravens running attack will remain in quick sand and they’ll manage just 80 yards on the ground, half that total attributed to Lamar’s scrambling.
• Odafe Oweh finally gets off the schneid with two sacks of Jones. The Ravens get three sacks in total with rookie Travis Jones (no relation) registering his first career sack in his first regular season NFL game.
• Matt Judon exacts a little revenge on the Ravens when he takes down Lamar for the Patriots’ only sack.
Once again the Ravens will jump out to a commanding lead in the fourth quarter but struggle to eat up clock on the ground. The short possessions will get the Patriots back in the game but in the end, the Ravens shut down New England’s final drive to escape with their first ever regular season win at Gillette.
Ravens 31, Patriots 24
Wait, the season isn’t called off after last week’s game? There’s still time to make this a successful year?
Well, this would be a good time to get started, if you’re the Baltimore Ravens and you hope to contend this season, particularly with the Buffalo Bills looming large the next week. Let’s get to some predictions:
• The running game still struggles to regain their familiar form, but backs do combine for more than 80 yards. That’s an improvement.
• The Patriots still have a good defense, and their coach is still a wizard. Expect a few wrinkles that slow down the passing game a bit. Lamar will throw for less than 225 yards.
• The Ravens defense looks better, particularly on the back end. Part of that is the Patriots have a pretty poor passing attack. Two picks and under 200 yards in the air for New England.
• Tyler Linderbaum scores a touchdown. That’s right. I said it.
• Isaiah Likely records his first touchdown.
Ravens 24 Patriots 13
The Baltimore Ravens defense and I have some serious trust issues. I’ve been abused and traumatized, and it’s making me flinch every time a QB unleashes a pass that makes the camera zoom out, or or a running back gets through the line of scrimmage. I was willing to forget some of the abuses of the past, to look forward toward a new day – a day where leads might actually be safe in the fourth quarter. Instead, Mike Macdonald backhanded me with the worst collapse in team history, one that would make Dean Pees blush. Until they win back my trust, my trauma clouds all my judgement.
I do trust Lamar Jackson. He’s incredible. But Hoodie…man, Hoodie. Unfortunately, I trust him more to stifle Greg Roman like he did in the 2020 matchup, as opposed to in the 2019 matchup where everything went the Ravens’ way.
This defense wasn’t physical at all against Miami, a squad they’ve historically been able to bully (2021 aside, which we hoped was an anomaly). Can they punch back against a physical Pats team that just ran the ball down Pittsburgh’s throat? Unless the offense can get up big again and force New England to play catch-up, I’m not optimistic.
The pass defense ranking improves because NE doesn’t need to throw it, putting up 180 on the ground, and keeping the ball out of Lamar’s hands. LJ and the offense sit helplessly on the sideline while New England eats up the clock to end it like the Ravens failed to do last week.
Patriots 26 Ravens 24
Coming off a terrible loss, the Ravens head to Foxboro, to a stadium that they are 0-6 at during the regular season. The Pats are off to a pretty mediocre start offensively but have been good defensively.
Mac Jones is amongst the league leaders in air yards per pass but, like Tua last week, I’m not worried about him beating us deep. Now, the caveat to that is that we actually defend their receivers and don’t let them run free 40 yards down the field.
The concern I would have in this game is how NE defends Lamar and if Belichek comes up with a scheme to slow him down offensively.
Hopefully guys come back healthy this week and the Ravens can start to get whole again. I’m uneasy about this game but I’m going to say the Ravens win.
Ravens 20 Patriots 17
The Patriots these days are not the scary team we’ve become accustomed to in the last two decades. They also don’t offer the explosive threats of Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill that last week’s matchup did. Mac Jones has been more of a game manager with a heavy dose of the run game and dink and dunk passes. Last week Nelson Agholor was the first receiver to go over 100 yards in the Mac Jones era. The status of some of the injured Ravens players will make a big difference in this game.
• Matt Judon will sack Lamar facing his former team for the first time.
• Chuck Clark will get an interception.
• Justin Houston will record 1 sack and 1 QB hit.
• Isaiah Likely will score his first NFL touchdown.
• DeMarcus Robinson will score one touchdown.
• The run game will go for under 50 yards combined.
Ravens 20 Patriots 13
The Ravens have a simple choice. They can go on an early season skid or they can take out vengeance on the Patriots. Put the purple and black down for some Batman levels vengeance. Which reminds me, Rashod Bateman will have his third straight game with a touchdown reception.
The Ravens are hard to trust after the Dolphins sliced and diced them. That said, Lamar Jackson is on a roll. He’s scored three touchdowns through the air two weeks in a row. The Ravens can put up some points.
The Patriots offense isn’t scary. They topped the Steelers 17-14 and only put up a touchdown on the Dolphins. Mac Jones has thrown a pick in both games this year. This feels like a race to 24 points. I’ll bet Jackson and the Ravens can put up enough points to win this game while the defense will regain a little confidence.
Here are my bold predictions:
• Lamar Jackson has three touchdown passes again
• Andrews will get one of these, Bateman will get the other two
• The Ravens get two turnovers out of Jones, a pick and a fumble
Travis Jones gets his first two sacks in his first game in the action.
After a nasty turn of events in Week 2’s matchup against the Dolphins, pressure falls on the Ravens secondary to not make the same mistakes. Mac Jones had great success in Week 2 throwing to Nelson Agholor, and more of that connection is likely to be seen against the Ravens. Jones will throw for about 250 yards just as he did in Week 2, with Agholor having his second consecutive game with 100+ passing yards.
Baltimore allowed 4.8 yards per carry last week. New England’s Damien Harris averaged 4.7 yards per carry against Pittsburgh, while Rhamondre Stevenson averaged 5.2. The Patriots are sure to make great use of the run game in this matchup, so expect them to have success on the later downs. Their rushing yard total will fall around 150.
Offensively, Lamar Jackson will likely lead the offense into the same level of production that they reached last week against Miami. Rashod Bateman and Jalen Mills will go head-to-head, and Bateman will come up with a single touchdown. Coach Belichick will likely be very focused on stopping Baltimore’s run game, so Bateman, Andrews, and Duvernay are all favored to lead on the stat sheet.
Ravens 24 Patriots 21 (OT)
This game will come down to the Ravens’ injuries, which look surprisingly good at the moment (all 53 players were on the practice field Thursday). The Ravens won’t face a receiver corps like Miami’s in the Patriots, so to expect the disastrous results of last week would be a little bit of an overreaction. The Patriots’ offense is so vanilla that it is a snore fest to watch and shouldn’t give the Ravens much trouble. The offense also will have to face a much worse secondary so the receivers could have an even better day on Sunday.
Honestly, I don’t think this game will be close, and the Ravens will pull away and build some confidence going into next week’s matchup against the Bills, which is needed.
• Kyle Hamilton has a much better day and shows why he was a first-round pick
• Lamar has another eclectic day, and Bateman has a huge game solidifying himself as the best wide receiver on this team and Lamar’s go-to guy.
• Ravens corners play much better, and Marcus Peters has an interception
• The Patriots pass rush does record multiple sacks e
• J.K. Dobbins makes his long-awaited debut but doesn’t have the impact fans want
Ravens 31 Patriots 10