Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    The Ravens have weaknesses? I thought the Patriots were the only team with weaknesses?

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    Gronk can hurt the Ravens, TE's must make play against the 3/4. Running won't be easy, it will be up to Tommy to beat these guys.

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    i really hope the pats front 4 go aggressive and do not let the ravens oline dictate where the holes are. with its current personnel, i think the pats d can get a lot penetration through the middle. jones will get his share on the edge, but i really believe they should test that middle.

    on o i believe the bal is vulnerable to dinks underneath to welker, moreso than last year because reid and the cbs will be preoccupied with lloyd and gronk. olbs will be preoccupied with ridley.

    i'd start the o game with a couple of passes from under c. i believe the ravens will expect run plays early, thinking the pats attempt to use the run to setup the pass. let a couple of passes open things up a little and then give them a bid dose of ridley's big plays. that sets up pa.

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    I just hope Josh doesn't go crazy trying to make long passes, because Ed Reed will bury to ball hawk Brady all game long.

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    I think any defense that allows Ben Jarvis Green Ellis to have a career day, can be run on. As much as some wanted to pee their pants after that game - it's obvious that running the ball against them might be a good idea, because what is the alternative? You going to throw all day against the number one rated defense against the pass from last season? 

    Here's the problem...when a team knows you going to try to run it (because you've shown you can be run on) they can do enough things to improve. Now everone knows we have protection problems and just lost a big weapon in Hernandez - I'm sure the Ravens are planning on stopping the run..it's got to be priority one for them right now. They may selectively bring 8 up in the box, run blitz, shift there alignments up a bit...sign a guy off the practice squad..you name it. I think for us to run it and have balance a guy like Vareen has to come into the game and catch a screen pass...take some hand offs, because Woodhead scares no one and you can't leave Ridley in there all game. 

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    I too think that Baltimore is susceptible to both the run and Gronk across the middle.  Moreover, I do realize this is Baltimore we're talking about but I have diffculty getting excited about a Dean Pees defense. 

    On O, Baltimore appears to be better than in prior years.  On the other hand, the Pats defense is decidedly better than last year.  This is the game where I hope they show it.

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    I havn't seen him play yet but most of all I didn;t look forward to playing Upshaw. If Suggs was healthy and Upshaw has any game to him the O line would have to bring their A game. Suggs could still be back but how much of a force who knows. This game is going to be a playoff preview.

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    First off, the Baltimore fans see this game as "revenge".  Of course half the NFL wants revenge on the Patriots for beating them, and some of those revenge games turn out to be spectacular Patriots blowouts.  

    Bill Belichick and the Patriots usually do well in games where they have recently played that opponent.  The Patriots and Baltimore played in January.

    Dean Pees, former Patriots defensive coordinator, is now Baltimore's defensive coordinator. Baltimore got a guy who got fired from the Patriots for some reason, probably because he didn't produce in New England, because he bungled the job, because his defense got beat, because he's not that good as a defensive coordinator. 

    On the other hand, Pees walks into Baltimore with a firsthand knowledge of most of New England's defense.  He may not be the right guy to lead Baltimore to the #1 seed in the AFC, but at least he's the right guy to beat the Patriots.  Exceptions:  Pees has never seen starters Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Tavon Wilson and Jake Bequette.  In addition, Belichick and crew have hopefully been tweaking the defense for eight months in preparation for meeting Pees. 

    Baltimore is a really old team.  New England is a really young team with the exception of Tom Brady.  Healthy quarterbacks can go for a long time, and right now Brady doesn't appear to be on the downside of his career.  If he broke the 5,000 yard passing barrier again this year, that wouldn't surprise people.

     The problem with being a really old team is nagging injuries.  Terrell Suggs was great but he's not playing.  Bernard Pollard will be playing injured if he makes it onto the field.  Behind Pollard is James Ihedigbo who played for pretty much the NFL minimum and got cut by New England in any case, and who now has been practicing with Baltimore for three whole weeks.

    Formerly all-wonderful linebacker Ray Lewis has lost a step.  He will bite on the play-fake, leaving the middle of the field wide open behind him.  Also, he can't really cover the Patriots' fast running backs on end-arounds and on zone blocking wide.  Again, this is a problem with an old but experienced team.  Nobody's going to fool them, but everybody's going to outflank them.  If other members of the Baltimore defensive backfield have equally lost a step,  that's more trouble and Brady will want to pick on certain matchups.  New England will probably concede running up the middle, at least until Baltimore overcompensates for its other serious holes.

    If the Patriots were to have an injury, best to have it in an area with capable backups.  Beyond Hernandez are Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Gronk and Julian Edelman who is coming on fast.  New guy Kellen Winslow at least can play the game if Brady keeps it simple for him.  At least the Pats will have had a week to band-aid over the problem of losing Hernandez. 

    If the Arizona coach was being honest, if the Patriots were telegraphing their plays to the Cardinals defense, then that problem will probably have gone away by next Sunday. 

    Why Baltimore couldn't beat the Eagles is a different kettle of fish.  Flacco went 8 for 26 after Philly adjusted at halftime.  Is it some flaw Philly found in the Baltimore offense in the second half?  Is Flacco just an average flaky quarterback come back to earth?  Why should Flacco be fixable in a week?   I expect that the New England coaching staff watched that game's video while munching popcorn.

    Baltimore has a fundamental offensive matchup problem with the Patriots this year.  The Baltimore running game won't work if the Patriots' front line penetrates, and if the Patriots' front line is even stouter than last year.  Also, McCourty is playing like he did in his rookie year.

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    Re: Ravens Weaknesses/Matchups

    In response to JintsFan's comment:

    Well said, I agree with all this. Pats should win 127-0

    Serious qualification:  My numbers have Baltimore by 5.2 points.  They're historically a great home team.

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