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Patriots-Ravens Predictions: Mixed Bag

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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dives into the end zone to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the 2011 AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dives into the end zone to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the 2011 AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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New England Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) – The 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ-TV and WBZ NewsRadio Sports teams make their predictions for the Patriots-Ravens Sunday night match up.

Scott Zolak, 98.5 The Sports Hub

If New England had won last week and came in 2-0, they would be walking into a buzz saw. But focus was put back on what needs to be fixed. I don’t think they adjusted well when Hernandez went out. Give them a week to get ready for this, and I don’t think the Baltimore D is what it used to be.

Give me Brady and Belichick versus Flacco and Harbaugh any day of the week. That’s no disrespect to those guys because I think Flacco is playing a hell of a lot better, but he’s just not ready yet.

It’s going to be a tight one. I call redemption Sunday for Stephen Gostkowski — he hits the game winner.

Patriots win by one…

Andy Gresh, 98.5 The Sports Hub

This one will be about the Patriots’ veterans. We’ll see how they get everyone else to react in a place that is pretty tough to play. Baltimore has the same success at home that the Patriots usually have.

I think the Patriots play well, but lose a close one.

Ravens 27, Patriots 24

Walt Perkins, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

A tough test for the Patriots this week in Baltimore.

They face a Ravens team still seething over last year’s loss in the AFC Championship game and – more recently – last week’s loss at Philadelphia.

They are driven and they are home; a tough combo for any visiting team.

Of course, the Patriots are also coming off a loss and almost always respond well the following week. But not having tight end Aaron Hernandez is going to hurt. Kellen Winslow Jr and Deion Branch can soften the loss, but not make up for it.

The Patriots’ defense will keep them in Sunday night’s game, but whether the offense can generate enough points for a win remains to be seen.

Ravens 20, Patriots 16

Levan Reid, WBZ-TV

I felt more positive last week when the Pats had to play the Arizona Cardinals.  I knew it would be a tough match up but I expected the Pats to win.  I don’t have that same confidence with this game.

The Pats have something going on in that locker room with Wes Welker and it’s not right.  I’m not sure it’s a distraction, but I just don’t think they are putting the best possible people out there on the field.  Now add to that the loss of Aaron Hernandez and we have an uncertainty in that offense.

The Ravens are also coming off of a loss. Not only does Baltimore want to get back on the winning side, not only do they have this game in prime time — at home, it’s against the Patriots.  The Pats have always felt like the Ravens were a tough team but the Ravens straight up dislike the Pats and after last year’s AFC Championship game. I get the feeling that payback is coming.

The Pats play better in this game than they did last week, but it won’t be enough against Baltimore.

Ravens 24, Patriots 20

Dan Roche, WBZ-TV

This is one if the best match ups  of the young NFL season. I think the “new look” Ravens with the no-huddle offense will be fired up to face the team that kept them from their Super Bowl dreams last January.

This will be a great test for a Patriots defense that has played extremely well the first two weeks. The young guys will be tested in many ways, including playing on a big stage in prime time. Torrey Smith is the guy to fear in my opinion. He can torch the Pats on the long ball, a problem they dealt with last season.

Meanwhile, the best thing the Pats have going for them is Tom Brady after a loss. Brady will get everyone involved, including Wes Welker, and it will be fun once again to watch number-12 try to rise up to another challenge. He doesn’t usually disappoint, although the offensive line will have to step up and keep him upright.

I’m hoping this is one game that lives up to the hype, and we’ll give Gostowski a mulligan.

Patriots 31, Ravens 28

Steve Burton, WBZ-TV

This is a grudge game for the Baltimore Ravens. They haven’t forgotten what happened in the AFC Championship game a year ago, and they’ve only beaten the Patriots one time in their history.

On the Patriots side, this team needs to come in extremely focused. On defense, it’s all about shutting down Ray Rice. Joe Flacco can be extremely hot, and extremely cold all int he same game. How the Ravens go is how Flacco goes.

The Patriots need to get Wes Welker going; we haven’t seen the old Wes in awhile. The offense needs a spark, and Welker should be exactly what the doctor ordered. That’s IF the doctor ordered it. Stevan Ridley has played extremely well, and the offensive line loves to open holes for him. But that shouldn’t get in the way of the passing game, and if Brady is on target, this will be anyone’s game to win.

The thing about the Ravens and the Patriots, the Patriots either win a tight one or they get blown out — so says their history. My head says Baltimore, but my heart says New England.

I’ll go with my heart…

Patriots 21, Ravens 17

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