Ravens-Patriots prediction article

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Ravens on Offense
All bets are off now that they’re in. In Coach John Harbaugh’s words, the Ravens will be a very formidable opponent in the playoffs. What makes them dangerous for New England is their ground game. Ray Rice has been Baltimore’s best weapon all season; he’s quick, hard to tackle, and he gets over 5 yards per carry. And with Patriot interior linemen Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren banged up on defense, the Ravens could win the battle in the trenches and let Rice take over. But let last week’s win vs. the Raiders be a reminder that Willis McGahee shouldn’t be forgotten. Seldom used in the past few weeks, McGahee seized the opportunity and exploded for 167 yards and 3 TDs. Rice and McGahee complement each other well with their different styles, and Joe Flacco will have less pressure on him. Flacco may not be asked to do anything spectacular, but he needs to make the right throws. More often than not, he’s found Derrick Mason and Todd Heap and tends to use Rice as a safety blanket (leads Ravens with 78 catches). At this point, Flacco has 2 years of experience and 2 playoff wins under his belt, so maturity shouldn’t be an issue and he should be well-composed vs. Belichick and the Patriot defense.

Patriots on Offense
There’s no way around it, Wes Welker is irreplaceable for the Patriots. They’ll bring in rookie Julian Edelman, but Welker’s presence will be missed. His knack to get open in New England’s offense is unparalleled, and no one will miss him more than Tom Brady, who has counted on Welker to bail him out time and time again. Look no further than Week 4 when these teams met; Welker was thrown to 10 times that game, twice as much as any other receiver. Welker’s absence will allow the Ravens to blitz a banged up Brady more than they normally would, plus they can double cover Randy Moss, who has disappeared at times when played physically. Moss may also have to run more crossing routes, and we all know how little he’ll be looking forward to a meet-and- greet with Ray Lewis. Great news for Baltimore: Ed Reed is back. But if Brady can buy time and avoid pressure from Terrell Suggs and co., he‘ll find guys downfield. At the very least, the Patriots will exploit the Ravens’ tendency to self-destruct with penalties, namely from their mediocre corners. When it comes to running the ball, New England will count on Laurence Maroney and a committee of supporters, led by Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor. Nevertheless, the pressure will be on Brady, the receiving corps, and the big guys up front.

In Week 4, New England won 27-21 after Mark Clayton dropped an easy first-down catch in the midst of a possible game-winning drive for the Ravens. This time around, Baltimore’s backfield will be too much for the Patriots, and under the guidance of the O-line, will determine the pace of the game.

Prediction
Baltimore 27
New England 20
 

Fading Lang 24/7
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also remember welker was out when they played in wk. 4


No Welker played... He had 46 yards I believe. That was his first game back from injury.

The Ravens did fumble opening kickoff and spotted the Patriots an easy 3.

Flacco was playing much better back then, but the Ravens barely ran the ball that week.

The Ravens defense was playing much worse back then, but the injury to L. Webb hurts.

The Pats offense was struggling a bit back then, Welker loss is huge. Moss will make plays, but he's not going to be enough to win the game. The Pats either need to establish a run game, or Edelman needs to prove he IS a Welker clone. I don't think the Pats can run it too effectively. It will be up to Watson and Edelman to support Moss.
 

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No Welker played... He had 46 yards I believe. That was his first game back from injury.

The Ravens did fumble opening kickoff and spotted the Patriots an easy 3.

Flacco was playing much better back then, but the Ravens barely ran the ball that week.

The Ravens defense was playing much worse back then, but the injury to L. Webb hurts.

The Pats offense was struggling a bit back then, Welker loss is huge. Moss will make plays, but he's not going to be enough to win the game. The Pats either need to establish a run game, or Edelman needs to prove he IS a Welker clone. I don't think the Pats can run it too effectively. It will be up to Watson and Edelman to support Moss.


All true. The running game is huge for Baltimore, and probably the biggest factor that separates these two teams. Rice and McGahee will take a lot of pressure off Flacco, wear down the Patriots, and keep the ball out of Brady's hands.
 

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