By: Ian Logue
With Sunday’s match-up against the Ravens getting closer, I took a look at some different aspects of Baltimore game statistically, and there were a few things that stood out.
Here are five quick points worth mentioning:
- 1) As always, they’re tough defensively. Like 2009 the Ravens once again are ranked third in the NFL defensively, giving up an average of 257.8 yards per game. They’re ranked 2nd in pass defense, allowing a meager 156.6 yards per game, although it’s been against teams that aren’t quite the level of what the Patriots have been offensively.
Looking at the rankings based on total offense per game, they’ve played the Jets (ranked 15th), Cincinnati (9th), Browns (25th), and the Steelers (29th). New England is ranked 11th in that category, but they’re 1st in the NFL in points per game with an average of 32.8. So it should be interesting to see how well they match up this time – especially considering that we’ll be seeing New England’s revamped offense for the first time against them Sunday.
- 2) Baltimore continues to be tough against the run. They’re a little off from last year’s average per-game total (93.3), allowing an average of 101.2 yards per game this year. It should be a good test for Patriots runningback BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who so far finds himself ranked in the middle of the pack in the NFL in yards per carry with 4.6.
- 3) Baltimore’s pass rush isn’t quite as daunting so far compared to last year, ranking at the lower part of the pack in sacks. This season they’re ranked 23rd this season with just 8 sacks, compared to league leading Tennessee who surprisingly have 22 so far. New England has just 7 of their own defensively.
They got to Tom Brady three times in that debacle back in January, although this season Brady’s been fairly well protected, having only been sacked five times so far this year. We’ll see how that goes on Sunday.
- 4) The Patriots success coming off of a bye isn’t a given, and the Ravens are a team that could potentially give them trouble. Last year, the Ravens played a team coming off its bye three times, and was 2-1. One would have to believe they’ll likely be tough again this weekend.
- 5) Third down should be a tough one this week for New England. The Ravens’ defense has allowed teams to convert only 26.6 percent of the time, and should be a good test for the Patriots. New England is ranked first in the league in 3rd down efficiency, coverting 55.3 percent of them.