BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots jussssssst snuck by the New York Jets on Monday night to snap their four-game losing streak. Things are going to be a lot tougher this weekend when they welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Foxboro.
The Patriots are seven-point underdogs in this one. It’s not often you find the Patriots as seven-point dogs at home.
Baltimore is once again near the top of the AFC, sitting at 6-2 on the season. Their plus-85 point differential is the second-best in all of football, and they have the best rushing attack in the NFL. That doesn’t bode well for New England’s abysmal run defense.
But these two teams know all there is to know about each other, so even if it looks like a mismatch heading in, it’s possible the Patriots could make a game out of it. This will be the 11th time that Bill Belichick and John Harbaugh go head-to-head, with Belichick owning a 6-4 advantage in their previous matchups. The Ravens won last year’s tilt, 37-20, in Baltimore.
Here’s what the WBZ-TV/CBS Boston sports team is expecting when the Patriots and the Ravens square off on Sunday Night Football:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
The Ravens are not the Jets. But the Patriots are still looking to build off that Monday Night win, and if they can beat Baltimore, they might be back in the playoff hunt.
But that is a big IF. The Ravens are 6-2 for a reason, and that reason is QB Lamar Jackson. The Pats have to make him throw the ball, because he can kill you with his legs. The Patriots found that out last year when he threw for a touchdown and rushed for two more.
The Patriots have to stop the run, and then run the ball themselves to keep Jackson on the sideline. Scoring early would help too. Do all of that and they have a chance.
Ravens 28, Patriots 17
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
I look at this game in one area and I think it could cause all kinds of problems for the Patriots: run defense.
The Pats did improve in that area Monday night – allowing 65 yards on 18 carries. But – the Ravens with Lamar Jackson and company are a whole different problem.
Ravens 30, Patriots 20
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
Honestly, it’s hard for me to pick the Pats to beat the Ravens on Sunday. New England struggles with the run and Baltimore simply runs the rock.
Last year, when the Pats were 8-0 and went into Baltimore, they struggled to stop the run and lost. This year, the Broncos and the 49ers brought their running games into Gillette and beat the Pats and I expect the same with the Ravens.
Ravens 27, Patriots 17
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
The Patriots just don’t have the personnel to slow down the NFL’s No. 1 rushing attack. It might be an entertaining game, but ultimately the versatile Baltimore ground game will prove to be too much for the Patriots to handle.
Ravens 33, Patriots 20
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
Jackson and the Ravens are going to run all over the Patriots on Sunday night. Baltimore has racked up an average of 170 rushing yards per game so far this season. The Patriots defense may as well be a collection of paper bags for this one.
That being said, given the familiarity between the two teams and the two coaches, I do like the Patriots to keep this one fairly close for a while. But they don’t have enough firepower to keep pace with the Ravens all night.
Ravens 34, Patriots 21
After the Patriots and the Ravens square off on Sunday Night Football, switch over to WBZ-TV for full reaction and analysis — plus Bill Belichick and Cam Newton’s press conferences LIVE — on Patriots 5th Quarter!