Disclaimer: Baring catastrophic injuries, inexplicably bad calls, and massive turnovers, the more I think on it, the more I see this game ending up with a double digit lead. I know that the Ravens are a team to be respected. I know that they are coming off a 2 game roll. I know that they create some match up problems for us on defense. But briefly (for me) these are some thoughts that have occurred to me this day before the big game.
1. The stat that keeps echoing in my mind that gives me the basis for my opinion is this one. This season the Pats have played 7 games against top 8 defenses in the league (Denver, Niners, Texans (2) Jets (2) and Seahawks). Their average ppg against the league's best defenses is 35.5.
That's a fairly large sample, and it should be noted that in only one of those games (the first Jets) were both Gronk and Hernandez available.
The Ravens defense may be playing better now, but they finished 17th and averaged just 23 fewer yards than our Pats D. The Bottom line here is that I just cannot see any scenario, other than a complete breakdown, where the Ravens will hold the Pats to under 30 points, and likewise, I don't see any scenario where the Ravens will score more than that.
2. If you want to feel even better, check out the Football outsiders thread, which gives a much more compelling set of facts and statistics that back up my opinion. Its really a must read, if you haven't already
3. While taking a brisk walk this morning - It occurred to me that last year getting to the superbowl was kind of a gift. A defense THAT bad, really shouldn't get to the superbowl, let alone nearly win it. This year's defense is clearly better, but still not good-great. Getting to the superbowl with such a young and inexperienced D would be a great accomplishment.
Now what must be REALLY very scary to the rest of the AFC, is that this current version of the NE Patriots was REALLY set to peak for a superbowl run, NEXT year. Where the best offense in the league will finally be matched with a true top 10 defense.
By next year the defense will be a year older, wiser, and more competent. Tweaks will surely be made and even MORE talent added, but what this D needs more than anything else is snaps. Plus an offense that will add more WR help and a healthy Gronk, plus a stronger running attack, is going to be really formidable.
Sorry about not following the Patriot way and thinking ahead, but it was cold out there and it just popped into my head.
4. I won't be watching any of the pre-game nonsense. I assume they all are going to be either anointings of Colin Kaepernick and the Niners as the best QB and best team of all time, and homages to Ray Lewis and the determination of the Baltimore Ravens. I don't need to deal with that crap. I'd only end up being annoyed
5. Speaking of the Niners (our likely superbowl opponent) has there been an NFL team in the last 10 years that seems to have FEWER injuries than the Niners this season?. They played 10 of their defensive starter over 95% of their snaps and NO ONE has gotten hurt, until JSmith tweeked his arm. Plus I don't recall any big offensive injuries, except the concussion to Alex Smith that allowed Harbaugh to make the switch to Kaepernick. Even their injuries end up as pluses.
What makes this more interesting is that when, after losing just one guy (JSmith) for a couple of games really affected the SF defense. It make me wonder that if the pendulum starts to swing against them, injury wise, are they deep enough to overcome it?
6. In the past I have never dwelt much on Ray Lewis' brush with the law back in 2000. It just seemed to me that over the last 13 years he's not only been a great football player, but an exemplary citizen. However there was a thread here, this week that gave a link to a detailed account of what happened, and after reading it, you can't help but come to the realization that Lewis was criminally involved in those murders. I don't believe he murdered those 2 guys, but I he absolutely was involved in the coverup and destruction of evidence that helped let 2 guys get away with murder. He was very lucky not to get jail time for that incident.
You still cannot ignore all the positive things his done over the last 13 years, and the positive things he is likely to do with the rest of his life. Its likely that the events of that night in Jan. of 2000, turned Ray's life around and made him into the positive force he's become, and one bad act shouldn't ruin what amounts to a lifetime of good deeds....BUT it shouldn't be forgotten or swept under the rug either. Ray has to own the bad as well as the good. jmho
OK, I got to run, got to drive to Porttand ME this morning, and I told you this would be a "short" one. Enjoy the game. Don't let the mediots worry you. The Ravens CANNOT beat the Pats if the Pats play well. and I fully expect them to play well. Remember this is Dean Pees vs Josh McDainiels