The pasting of Cleveland isn’t even 24 hours old yet and I’ve already moved on — and I’m ready to tackle the big game in Foxboro this Sunday.
No one else in town is probably ready to break this one down, but I will.
They can pin this up on the locker room at Gillette Stadium if they want, but it’s not going to help the Patriots in six days.
The Ravens are going to win in New England next Sunday.
It won’t be a romp like yesterday’s pounding of the hapless Browns. The Pats will be a tad better defensively than the Chargers were, that’s for sure.
But listen to me — Baltimore will land at BWI Airport around 8:30 pm next Sunday night a 4-0 football team.
For starters, the Ravens are smart enough to know one of the secrets for keeping New England from scoring more points. I’m a dummy and I know how to do that. You don’t let Tom Brady get on the field.
I see the Ravens running the ball much more next week, chewing up the clock as much as possible — and keeping WonderBrady on the sidelines holding his helmet.
Whereas the Ravens have thrown the ball like mad the first three weeks, I doubt we’ll see “Air Cameron” next Sunday. They’ll go to the air, of course, but Flacco will be in the high 20’s for attempts — not 35 or 40. They’ll run the ball 30-35 times next Sunday and be effective doing so. Lots of Willis McGahee, lots of Ray Rice and a nice slice of Le’Ron McClain late in the game when they need to keep the ball out of Tom Terrific’s hands.
The Patriots, oddly enough, will HELP the Ravens kill the offensive momentum of the game by actually playing defense and not allowing the Ravens to run/throw roughshod over them the way the Chargers did a few weeks back.
One of the reasons the Chargers picked apart the Ravens defense is because San Diego got the ball every 5-8 minutes. Their defense would allow the Ravens to score — and then San Diego would go back to work on offense. The Chargers figured out the best way to get the ball was to let Baltimore score, and their strategy almost worked down the stretch when they had the ball deep in Baltimore territory in the game’s final minute.
New England’s defense will keep Baltimore from scoring more than they did in San Diego — but that means the Ravens can use the running game to kill the clock, keep Tommy Boy from getting the ball, and, hopefully, make Randy Moss less of a factor.
Joe Flacco will outshine G’s Man in his own backyard.
Baltimore 24 – New England 21.
This is the game the Ravens need to make EVERYONE in America believe they’re for real.
Honestly, up to now, let’s call it like it is: The Ravens beat two J.V. teams at home and squeaked out a win against a good, but somewhat ailing Chargers team in week #2. The Ravens offense has been impressive, yes. But the Chiefs and Browns have combined for as many wins as you and I have in the league this season. Those two teams stink.
This game next Sunday is “Prove It” day for the Ravens.
They won’t say that publicly, because that’s just not what they do.
Deep down, though, Harbaugh, Cameron, Flacco, Ray, Reed, etc. all know the truth. A win in New England makes them elite. A loss gives everyone reason to pause and say, “Yeah, the Ravens are good. But they couldn’t beat New England.”
This time next Monday, the truth will be this: The Ravens will be 4-0.