In response to zbellino's comment:
Baltimore is peaking right now, surely riding a crest of emotion from Ray Lewis' retirement anouncement (which I think is a farce btw, he'll be back).
But I hear a refrain about their "tired" defense.
Stat check on recent play.
In the last four weeks, getting more contribution from a somewhat healed Suggs and Kruger rushing they have:
Held the #4, #6, #10 and #12 offenses to an average of 16.75 points per game, including a double overtime game in which they allowed only 21 points to Denver's "vaunted" attack.
They are old foes of NE, and each side knows the other well, so it should be close.
Which Baltimore defense do we expect to see, the one who had that terrible stretch in the middle of season when Suggs and Ray Lewis were out? Or the one that has shown up and been as terrific as ever the last month?
You just answered your own question and the Colts and Broncos offenses isn't NE's. I knew they'd beat Indy because Indy blew their wad in Week 17. I thought they'd give Denver all they could handle and they pulled it off, mostly because of a legendary breakdown by a Safety from Denver.
But, it's very obvious they are older and slower. Mt Cody is a bust, as is Kindle, so they guys they brought into supplement
The fact is, during the year when Ray was out, their D was actuallY BETTER. I posted an article here about it where the data supports the premise. So, you're wrong again. They're overachieving on D right now because of the Ray factor. I knew they would be flying high, not going easily, but that doesn't mean their ability to cover against an offense like this is a good match up for them.
They just allowed 35 points. If our D did that, you'd be incensed calling for BB's head for crying out loud. But, that's "terrifc"?
The question is, can they keep channeling this "WIn it for Ray" crap for a 3rd straight week on the road, against the BEST team they'd have faced in the last month.
Their D is old. Lewis is retiring, has a deal with ESPN, he is a major liablity in pass coverage and Ed Reed has been playing hurt all year. He's clearly not the Ed Reed of old. He's up there in age too and I wouldn't be surprised at all if he retires as well.
They have pride, exprience and some steady talent with Ngata (one of the best), Eellerbe is solid, as is Kruger, Upshaw is a solid looking rookie,but their DBs have some depth issues, too. Ladarius Webb reshuffles the deck for them and if Brady and BB see a no huddle like they did against Denver in Week 4, Brendon Abandejo and Co will have their hands on their hips by the end of the 2nd qtr.
I would put Houston's front 7 above Baltimore's and you just saw what NE did to them. Brooks Reed, Antonio SMith and Connor Barwin did absolutely nothing last night. Nor did Watt, really.