NB: I realize I’m posting this after the game has already started but I’ve been filling out student loan forms all morning and have the game DVRed, so I promise I haven’t seen any of the game yet, and I don’t think the first half should even be over at this point, so let’s get started:
This game is extremely hard for me to pick without bias. I hate the patriots with a burning passion. These two teams have only met five times ever, and none of those meeting have come in the playoffs. The patriots have won all five meetings but the last two times they met (week four of this year and back in 2007) the Ravens had the win stolen away from them by the refs. Ray Lewis & Co. should be pumped up and ready to dish out some revenge in this game.
I actually would have predicted the pats to win this game had it not been for wes welker’s season ending injury. He had 123 receptions this year, which is by far the most on the team (randy moss was second with 83) and also was the most in the league (Steve Smith was second with 107). He also led the team in receiving yards with 1348, which was second in the league. His absence will allow the studly Ravens defense to cheat over and help out on moss. This makes this game much more of a toss up.
Without welker, moss is the only player on the team with more than 37 receptions. I read yesterday that the pats will look to utilize the run game more but I don’t think any of their running backs are capable of winning a game for them. I would expect moss to still have a 100-yard day, and a touchdown. The pats quarterback (He-who-must-not-be-named, if you will) will probably have a 200 to 250 yard day with a touchdown or two and at least one interception.
Look for the Ravens to run with Ray Rice a ton. I would guess he’ll have at least 100 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Look for the patriots defense to bring extra pressure on Joe Flacco in passing situations. I think that the patriots minus wes welker are a significantly less dangerous team. They have no other receiving threats and the running game is sub-par even when the passing game is thriving.
The Ravens are a defense that will look to maximize on these weaknesses and they will do it well. As I mentioned above this is a difficult preview for me to write because of how much I hate the pats. With that said, I will cut myself off here and say…
Ravens win 58 to 0.
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