With another big game approaching for the Patriots, Stadium Rant teams up again to predict the score of this Sunday’s showdown against Baltimore.
Coming off an extremely important win against Pittsburgh, the Patriots enter another showdown with the AFC North in an important home opener against Baltimore. Patriots games are always a box of surprises, whether for better or worse, so we look to all of Stadium Rant to help predict this battle, and I’ll offer my own thoughts.
Predictions for Patriots-Ravens
Ronnie Eastham – Managing Editor Lead of Stadium Rant and Bills Beat Contributor:
“I think the Ravens come out embarrassed by their second-half performance from a week ago and dominate the Patriots. While the Patriots’ defense is solid, their offense is not good. Ravens win, 24 – 10.”
Ronnie’s take hinges on two things that I agree will be factors on Sunday. The Ravens won’t take any lead lightly after blowing a huge one against Miami. Furthermore, the Patriots’ offense is trying to still gain some traction this season and the Ravens could take advantage, even if the Patriots defense is very talented an can limit Lamar and co.
Other things worth noting in this matchup though is the relative weakness of the Ravens secondary outside of Marcus Williams, which Mac and the offense could exploit. In addition the offensive line looked better in week two and the offense is on a positive trajectory overall.
Tyler Lamb – Director of Personnell at Stadium Rant and Gillette Gazette Contributor:
“Pats win 24-23. Pats offense still has lots of room to grow and they will continue to improve. I think Bill has a big hand in the defensive game plan. They have gotten a lot faster over the middle on defense. Ravens has some secondary issues I think we’ll have more room to operate. The Patriots offensive line needs to look more like week two, not week one, that’s for sure.”
Tyler’s take involves that offensive trajectory that I was talking about earlier, and a Ravens secondary that allowed six passing touchdowns in their last game won’t be able to stop them so easily, especially if they can improve even more in the trenches. It is true, as he said, that the defense has gotten a lot faster over the middle, and that can be owed to the changes at linebacker. The secondary is also full of fast, athletic guys.
This will, however, be an elevated challenge for their defense, facing a dual-threat speed demon in Lamar Jackson whose arm has gotten better, as well as good weapons including TE Mark Andrews. This will be a good indicator of how good that defense really is.
Patrick Keefe – Contributing Writer at Gillette Gazette
“Patriots 30 – Ravens 13, Lamar runs for a league record 191 yards, but somehow still can’t get it going against a stellar Patriots defense that continues to improve for the third straight week. Mac Jones and the offense finally start clicking, also building off a solid performance last week. Nelson Agholor has another big game with 100+ yards and a score. Kenyan Drake carries four times for four yards.”
Pat points to the Patriots defense, which has been a common theme for good reason, as they’ve been fast, disciplined and very difficult to penetrate. After another week to learn and practice, the offense should be building on their performance from last week. The Kenyan Drake point refers to a factor in this game not many are talking about, which is the fact that the Ravens have not been great running the ball outside of Lamar, which does cut a dimension from their offensive framework.
Matt Trigger: Contributing writer for Flock The North and Podcast Host for Flock The North Podcast
“Ravens 31-13. We [The Ravens] bounce back after a crushing loss. We get after Mac and our defense doesn’t fold like a lawn chair this weekend.”
Matt expects a rebound and rightly so, after what was a terrible second half for Baltimore. It’s clear that the Ravens are a more talented team than what they showed there, the first half is evident of that. Their pass rush may be able to get home and attack Mac if the Patriots’ offensive line plays like they did in week one.
It may not be so easy if they play like they did in game two, because Tua didn’t feel much pressure in the second half, and Mac does have a quick release he can use to attack the Ravens’ line. The Patriots’ home field also may not make an emotional rebound be easy after the Ravens lost in Baltimore.
Ravens win 27-24. If this were a week seven game, I’d be picking New England for sure, but currently the Ravens’ offense and Lamar are in midseason form and will likely bring as high a level as they can. It will be a new challenge for the defense, and the offensive line, while improved will still be somewhat porous this early in the season.
The excellent Patriots’ defense and the improved offense will keep this close, but ultimately the Ravens are very close to their ceiling and the Patriots are nowhere near theirs. They’ll be the better team by midseason the way I see it. Nick Folk’s plant leg injury haves him miss a 54-yarder at 24-24, and then one big Lamar-Andrews connection later, Justin Tucker nails a 57-yarder. I hope with my whole Pats-obsessed heart that I am dead wrong here.
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