SNF: Patriots v.s. Ravens
Bill Belichick has (kinda) gotten the Pats back on track with a nail biter against the now 0-9 Jets. It may not have been a very flashy win, but a win is a win nonetheless. Momentum is something they need whether it was against a winless team or not, and the Ravens have been a shell of what they were last year. I’m not saying they’re going to beat this team, but there might just be an outside chance.
The Ravens have had one of the top defenses in the league all season. They’ve allowed the least amount of points in the league, and are 8th in rushing defense. The running game is the only thing the Pats have had going for them all season, so this could be a stalemate in this game. Damien Harris is banged up, Sony Michel probably still won’t play, and James White has struggled all season. Rex Burkhead might be the workhorse this Sunday, along with a healthy dose of Cam Newton.
A huge bright spot that came out of last game was Jakobi Meyers. After his 12 catches for 169 yards he became a legit option for Cam in this offense. He knows how to get open, but he’s going to have a harder time against this skilled Ravens secondary. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are not easy to separate from, and if N’Keal Harry is back he’ll probably have just as difficult of a time. We might end up seeing a game where Demiere Byrd and Isaiah Ford play a factor in the passing game. Byrd has been consistent for most of the season, and has speed that is hard to match up with. Ford might just be the spark they’ve been looking for in this passing game, and this Sunday he will make his Pats debut.
The defense is where we might lose this one. They are going to need to force Lamar Jackson to throw a lot this game to stand a chance. That won’t be easy since Baltimore has the number 1 rushing offense. Lamar might have a field day with the Pats lack of linebackers on the roster. Not to mention how physical the Ravens running backs are in JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Mark Ingram has almost been a non-factor, and these guys have filled right in. If the Pats can get Lawrence Guy back it will be a bit of a help, but Adrian Phillips is just not a middle linebacker. The receivers shouldn’t be a problem with the way JC Jackson has played of late, with 4 straight games with interceptions.
This is going to be the Pats last hiccup on their way to 10-6 and a playoff spot. This is going to be an encouraging game where the Pats stay competitive, and carry their momentum into some lesser opponents. 21-17 Ravens will pull this one out.
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-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)