Can the Ravens beat the Patriots?

November 29, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

It’s the civic question of the week, right?

Is there ANY conceivable way that the Ravens can stop the Patriots on Monday night, and FINALLY play a quality football game against the best that the NFL has EVER had to offer?

With the combination of aging players, injured players and the overall “black cloud” of the five-game losing streak hanging over them, the only solace I can find is in that long-lost victory from Sept. 2002, when the Ravens bloodied the nose of the Denver Broncos at the purple palace on a Monday night when they were major double-digit dogs in early part of the “salary cap purge” season. Who doesn’t remember that Chris McAlister runback and that major hit by Ray Lewis after the missed field goal?

The spread this Monday night?

IT’S ONLY 20 ½ POINTS!

We’re seeing perhaps the best team in the history of the NFL taking on our Ravens, who are at the lowest point of their 12-year existence here in Baltimore.

Vegas thinks it’s gonna get ugly early and stay ugly.

But I’m trying to have a purple heart. I’m trying to believe that I’m not going to freeze in the upper deck in vain on Monday night while watching the biggest mismatch since Super Bowl III. (Oh, that’s the right, the underdog won that one!)

Can Kyle Boller do his best A.J. Feeley and solve the Patriots defense? Can the offensive line not commit penalties and protect Boller enough to move the ball? Will Willis McGahee be a factor, the way Brian Westbrook looked on Sunday night in New England? Is there anything Brian Billick and Rex Ryan can take from that Sunday night blueprint that Andy Reid put together and use it for a victory?

Will Ray Lewis and his “warriors” be able to get to Tom Brady quickly enough to offset the obvious mismatches in the secondary, especially if McAlister isn’t 100 percent? Can the Ravens find a way to pressure the pocket without Trevor Pryce? Will stopping the run be enough to stop the Patriots? Can we force turnovers when Brady does put the ball in the air?

Who will step up? What will the weather be like? Can we see a few trick plays on our side work? Maybe a surprise onside kick?

Can the Ravens even keep the game close long enough to make it interesting in the fourth quarter?

The season has been painful enough for most of us. Do we really want to witness this most obvious of “mismatches” on Monday night?

Or will we get the shock of our lives and watch the Ravens pull off a miracle win?

Who knows? A couple of turnovers? Maybe Tom Brady has an off night? Maybe Randy Moss gets the Chesapeake Bay flu? Maybe Bill Belichick will get caught cheating again?

I’m just trying to envision a scenario where the Ravens not only cover this most indicting of spreads, but actually WIN the game!

Not easy to do, obviously.

At 4-7 and with the season all but gone, I’m just trying to find a fantasy scenario where the Ravens can save a little face for 2007. Maybe our saving grace will be beating the Steelers here later in the month? Or smacking Peyton Manning in the mouth next week?

As bad as it’s been, the Ravens do have THREE chances to shock the world this month. And all of the games are at home, which I’m thinking might actually be a disadvantage if our fans turn on the team early in these games, which is entirely possible.

The Ravens (along with the Jets) have the rare opportunity to be able to be the only team to BEAT the Patriots and LOSE to the Dolphins.

Only time will tell…

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