NEWwbztv-small wbz-am-small 985-small mytv38web2
New England Patriots Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers, 7:30pm
Pregame on WBZ-TV at 7pm & 98.5 The Sports Hub at 4:30pm
What To Watch For | Socci's Notebook | Tune-In Info |

TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Baltimore Ravens

New England Patriots
Baltimore Ravens
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner The Patriots may have been struggling to put points on the board in the first half of the season, but they have been a much better offensive team in the second half. Much of this is due to Tom Brady, who is throwing the ball with more accuracy and greater velocity than he did earlier in the year. While the Pats dropped their Week 15 game at Miami, Brady’s presence gives them a shot to win any game.
The Ravens control their own playoff destiny after beating the Lions in the Week 15 Monday night game. Joe Flacco is the key to those chances. Flacco tends to come through with his best performances in his biggest games, and this is clearly a game the Ravens want badly. Flacco has not had a dominating year – 18-17 TD-interception ratio – but his team has full confidence in him.
Offense
Winner The Patriots suffered a huge blow in their Week 14 victory over the Browns when they lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to an ACL injury. The Pats want to get some productivity out of their running game, and Stevan Ridley is a breakaway threat if he can hold on to the football. Wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are stepping up at the right time of the year.
Winner The Ravens will try to attack the Patriots with their running attack. While Ray Rice has been ineffective this season, the Pats rank 30th against the run and are clearly vulnerable. Flacco will be looking for Torrey Smith as his primary receiver. He has made big plays and he can stretch the field. Tight end Dallas Clark is an excellent third-down receiver.
Defense
The Patriots have been forced to play without Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, and those two losses have made them quite vulnerable against the run. Outside linebacker Donta Hightower leads the team with 85 tackles, but defensive end Rob Ninkovich has 80 tackles, 6.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Chandler Jones leads the team with 11.5 sacks.
Winner The Ravens have shown some defensive improvement after a slow start, and when they are at their best they will pressure the quarterback with outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. While both players have lost a step, they are cagey pass rushers who can cause problems for Brady in this game. Daryl Smith is the team’s best tackler and quite underrated.
Special Teams
Winner The Patriots had a rare special-teams gaffe in the Week 15 loss to the Dolphins. Stephen Gostkowski gave the Dolphins the field position they needed when his late fourth-quarter kickoff went out of bounds. Gostkowski is normally a major asset. He has made 32-of-35 FG attempts this season.
Winner The Ravens are explosive on special teams as Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss have brought returns back for touchdowns. The Ravens cover kickoffs and punts exceptionally well. PK Justin Tucker was 6-of-6 on FG attempts vs. the Lions and has made a remarkable 33 consecutive FG attempts.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

These teams have been the standard bearers in the AFC in recent years and they don’t like each other. Look for a high-scoring game that slightly favors the Ravens at home.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: 2013 Red Sox vs. 2014 Red Sox

    How do the 2014 Boston Red Sox stack up against the 2013 World Champs? We take a look in the newest Tape of the Tape!

  2. Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees
    Which Team Is Having A Worse Season: Red Sox Or Yankees?

    The Red Sox are the defending World Series champions, yet they’re sitting comfortably in fourth place in the division. Meanwhile, the Yankees have MLB’s highest payroll yet are still hovering around .500. With the two [...]

  3. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote) (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little)
    Tale Of The Tape: Winter Olympics In Sochi Vs. FIFA World Cup In Brazil

    With both sites having their share of issues in hosting major international sporting events, we went to the tape to decide who was the worst host of 2014.

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,976 other followers