The Game of the Week in Week 9 is in Baltimore on Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium. It promises to be a must-watch affair between the undefeated Patriots and 5-2 Ravens. A win for the Patriots here and let the 16-0 talk commence. There’s been a bit of chatter, but more of the chatter has been how the Patriots haven’t beaten anyone this season.
Fair enough, though the Patriots haven’t been beating teams, they’ve been dismantling them with ease. The Patriots enter Week 9 with a score differential of a whopping +189 points. The next closest team are the 49ers with a +133. However, other than the Patriots and 49ers, there isn’t another team in the NFL above 100.
Their best win of the season had to be a 33-3 win in Week 1 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Note that was a Pittsburgh team with Ben Roethlisberger playing. Roethlisberger passed for 276 yards with an interception, while James Conner was unable to get going, as he rushed for 21 yards on 10 carries. The story then was how poorly the Steelers’ offense played. However, we’ve come to find out that the story should have been about the Patriots’ defense.
The 7-0 Patriots’ defense has been performing at a historic level, as they’ve been winning games a lot like the 2000 Ravens did. Except this team has Tom Brady under center and not Trent Dilfer. Brady hasn’t been asked of a whole lot thus far, but as we get deeper in the season, he is going to be asked to make some plays. That is likely going to be the case against the Ravens on Sunday Night Football.
This may not be the Ray Lewis and Ed Reed Ravens, but the Baltimore defense is likely going to be fired up with the Patriots in town. The Ravens are coming off an impressive 30-16 win two weeks ago, as they got to avoid a look ahead spot because of the bye week. Head below for our free Patriots vs. Ravens pick on Sunday Night Football in Week 9.
New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL Week 9 Betting Odds:
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Patriots vs. Ravens Pick:
Tom Brady isn’t putting up the electric numbers we’ve come to find from him. Part of that is by design and part of it is because he’s working with a less than stellar wide receiver core. Because of their defense, Brady hasn’t had to fire away and be the focal point of the team. Brady hasn’t needed to march all the way down the field often with the field positioning he’s being afforded by his defenses.
At the same time, they haven’t been playing with a fully loaded offense. There hasn’t been a real dangerous deep threat in the Patriots’ offense this season. Well, other than Antonio Brown for a game against the Dolphins. Rob Gronkowski retired, so that’s made it more difficult on the offense as well.
Brady has still been solid with 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He is on pace for 26 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, which would be more than fine if their defense continues playing at this level. New England are 1st in the NFL with 234 yards allowed per game, including just 148.8 passing yards and 85.2 rushing yards allowed per game.
The Patriots will clash with a Ravens’ offense who’ve netted 434.9 yards a game offensively. Lamar Jackson has been a force on the ground with his legs, as he’s carried the ball for 576 yards and 3 touchdowns. If the Pats can keep him in the pocket, then they’re going to have an inside lane to beating the Ravens tonight. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, which isn’t the worst you can find out there. But there hasn’t been a quarterback yet to figure out the New England secondary and I don’t know if the young Lamar is going to have what it takes to pick the Patriots apart in the pocket.
Note that the Pats have feasted against first-year and second-year quarterbacks. A win today and they will have their 22nd straight win over inexperienced quarterbacks in that capacity. This could also be a game where Brady comes alive and has a big game. The Ravens aren’t known for their pass defense, as they’re 26th in the league with 265.4 yards against per game. They will, though, get the services of Jimmy Smith back at corner following an MCL sprain.
To counter Smith, the Pats will finally get to put rookie N’Keal Harry on the field. He’s been activated to play this week and will make his first appearance in a regular season game. Harry is a physical receiver with reliable hands that will probably fit in to the offense well. He may not be an absolute burner, but Harry runs a lot of hitches and bubbles to give the Pats another dangerous option underneath and across the middle.
The Patriots have heard by now that people are criticizing them for not playing anybody yet. They can put that to bed with a win against the Ravens in Baltimore on primetime. I think that’s a point of motivation for the Patriots heading into this contest. They will want to show that they can beat the better teams of the NFL as well. Expect Brady to spring to life against a beatable Ravens’ secondary in this spot. It should be a good one tonight. It isn’t a lock by any means, and not a play to empty the bankroll out with, but Brady and that Patriots’ defense looks good to me at -3. They are out to prove something in Baltimore on Sunday Night Football.