BALTIMORE — At the end of the day, one of the AFC’s top teams will inexplicably be 1-2, sporting an unlikely losing record for a marquee franchise of the NFL.
The Patriots hope that fate won’t be theirs to hold, visiting the Baltimore Ravens today in the two teams’ seventh regular season meeting and ninth overall.
The Patriots own a 6-0 record against the Ravens in the regular season, including two wins in Baltimore. The two have split their postseason matchups, including last season’s AFC Championship 23-20 win for the Patriots, helped in part by now former Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff’s missed field goal in the waning moments and Patriots cornerback Sterling Moore’s strip of Lee Evans to prevent a touchdown.
The Ravens are coming off a 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, while the Patriots are nursing their wounds after a 20-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams do a remarkable job of bouncing back after losses. Since 2008, the Patriots 14-2 — best in the NFL — after a loss, while the Ravens are 16-4.
It doesn’t help the Patriots that the Ravens have won 11 straight at home. But both teams may not be at full strength.
Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith’s brother, Tevin, died in a motorcycle accident early Sunday morning. The Ravens have reportedly given Smith the option of playing in the game if he wants or staying with his family.
The Patriots will be without tight end Aaron Hernandez, who suffered a high ankle sprain against the Cardinals. They signed tight end Kellen Winslow on Tuesday, and he’s expected to play today behind Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots will also see the return of Deion Branch. It’s undetermined what his role may be.
Here are the details for tonight’s game:
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m.
Records: Patriots 1-1; Ravens 1-1.
TV/Radio info: NBC WHDH-TV Ch. 7 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya); 98.5-FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos, Scott Zolak).
Projected starting lineups:
Based on information distributed to the media, practice observations, and injuries for each team.
Patriots offense: WR Julian Edelman, LT Nate Solder, LG Logan Mankins, C Ryan Wendell, RG Donald Thomas, RT Sebastian Vollmer, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Brandon Lloyd, QB Tom Brady, RB Stevan Ridley, WR Wes Welker.
Patriots defense: NT Vince Wilfork DT Kyle Love, RDE Chandler Jones, LB/DE Ron Ninkovich, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Dont’a Hightower, LB Brandon Spikes, CB Devin McCourty, CB Kyle Arrington, S Steve Gregory, S Patrick Chung.
Ravens offense: WR Torrey Smith, WR Anquan Boldin, LT Michael Oher, LG Ramon Harewood, C Matt Birk, RG Marshal Yanda, RT Kelechi Osemele, TE Dennis Pitta, QB Joe Flacco, FB Vonta Leach, RB Ray Rice.
Ravens defense: DT Haloti Ngata, NT Ma’ake Kemoeatu, DE Pernell McPhee, RUSH Albert McClellan, WLB Jameel McClain, MLB Ray Lewis, SLB Paul Kruger, LCB Lardarius Webb, SS Bernard Pollard, FS Ed Reed, RCB Cary Williams.