The Patriots come home after a much-needed win on a last-second field goal against the Jets. It broke a four-game losing streak but things aren’t getting any easier as the powerful Baltimore Ravens are coming into Gillette.
This week’s game will be broadcast by NBC on Sunday, November 15 at 8:20 PM and can be seen locally on NBC 10 Boston. Al Michaels will handle play-by-play duties with Cris Collinsworth as the color analyst. Michele Tafoya will work from the sidelines. The game will also be aired on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call, produced by Marc Capello.
The Patriots have an 8-2 record against Baltimore in the regular season, and 2-2 against them in the postseason. Last year, the Ravens blew out the Patriots 37-20 in Baltimore. The Ravens romped the Patriots who came in 8-0.
The Patriots (3-5) beat the New York Jets 30-27. Cam Newton passed for 274 yards and rushed for 2 TDs. The team had 159 yards on the ground. Nick Folk boomed a 51-yard FG as time expired
The Ravens (6-2) beat the Indianapolis Colts 24-10. Lamar Jackson completed 19-23 passes for 170 yards and ran for a touchdown.
We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2020 to give some quick analysis on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.
So, here is our look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.
First up is the Patriots offense:
Patriots RBs vs Ravens Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots running game, despite the Jets selling out to stuff the run were still able to run for 159 yards. Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead ran hard and complemented each other very well. Newton ran for two touchdowns down inside the five yard line.
The Ravens are very stout against the run allowing just 101.8 yards per game good for eighth best in the league. Their front seven is very strong and features playmakers at both the DL and at LB. Although Calais Campbell will miss this week, Derek Wolfe and Brandon Williams are very good at stopping the run. LBs Matthew Judon, L.J. Fort, Malik Harrison, and rookie Patrick Queen are also very good.
The Patriots with an intact offensive line can run the ball at just about anyone. However, they’ve been running the ball on first down far too often. If they continue with that kind of trend, the Ravens will stuff the box and have them playing catchup all game long. Josh McDaniels is going to have to mix it up and let Newton throw on first down to keep Baltimore’s defense from selling out.
Patriots WRs vs Ravens Secondary – Razor’s Edge Baltimore
The Patriots passing game showed some signs of life last week as Jakobi Meyers was targeted 14 times and had 12 catches for 169 yards, he’s quickly building up nice chemistry with Cam Newton. He runs good routes, finds open areas of the coverage, and has good hands.
Newton is facing the #10 pass defense in the Ravens and will have to use Meyers, Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry (if he returns from a concussion), James White, and Rex Burkhead out of the backfield. We could see Isaiah Ford for a few snaps this week as well. Getting the ball out quickly and accurately this week is the key.
The Ravens secondary is deep with Jimmy Smith, Marcus Peters, and Marlon Humphrey at cornerback and is more than capable of shutting down the thin Patriots WR corps. Their pass rush, already good, just got Yannick Ngakoue to go along with Pernell McPhee and Judon.
Next up the Baltimore offense:
Ravens RBs vs NE Front Seven – Razor’s Edge Baltimore
The Patriots run defense is just a bad, bad matchup, personnel-wise against the Ravens running game. With no nose tackle and Lawrence Guy dinged up, it makes for a difficult night. Ja’Whaun Bentley is also injured but while the physical linebacker is tough enough to handle anything coming his way, he doesn’t have the speed to keep up with Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens lead the league in rushing with 170 yards per game and Jackson is the key there. He gashed the Patriots last season. But he can easily hand it off to Mark Ingram or J.K. Dobbins. They have a big, physical offensive line that can open holes for anyone in the backfield.
We look for Jackson to test the Patriots linebackers and safeties setting the edge by running to the outside. Their read-option attack should have a big night in Gillette Stadium as New England has struggled all season to stop the run.
Ravens WRs vs NE Secondary- Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots secondary will likely be missing Stephon Gilmore again this week. He was limited at practice on Weds. and on Thursday. Without the Defensive MVP in the lineup, CB J.C. Jackson had a rough couple of weeks against the Bills and Jets. Jason McCourty also had a rough game against New York.
Jackson isn’t having the kind of MVP season he had a year ago and he’s struggled at times when he has been forced to throw but his TD to INT ratio of 12-4 is good. He has some talented receivers in Hollywood Brown with tight end Mark Andrews and slot WR Willie Snead. They’ve added Dez Bryant to the mix.
The Ravens have the 31st passing attack in the league, but those numbers are skewed by the fact that win by running behind the league’s #1 rushing attack. However, the key is to force Jackson into passing situations and then keeping him in the pocket where his accuracy hasn’t been as sharp as a year ago. One other issue is that the Patriots aren’t getting hardly enough pressure on the QB rushing four. So, blitzes must be disguised well and have to get home.
Special Teams- Razor’s Edge Baltimore
The Patriots Nick Folk was the AFC’s ST’s Player of the Week last week, something we didn’t think we’d hear a few games ago. Jake Bailey is outstanding and has been a weapon at pinning opponents deep. Gunner Olszewski continues to return kicks out of the endzone, frequently putting the Patriots in bad field position at the 20-yard line or less.
The Ravens have the best kicker in the NFL with Justin Tucker, which immediately gives them an edge every week. But Sam Koch is a very good punter in his own right. Rookie Devin Duvernay has a 93-yard TD return on a kickoff this year.
Next up, who wins and why…
This is a game that, as we’ve mentioned above is a bad matchup, personnel-wise for the Patriots. They don’t have the bodies or the depth in the front seven to handle the size and speed of the Ravens running game. To do so, they are going to have to scheme up a really solid game plan and execute it to perfection.
Even with the better depth, they had a year ago, the Ravens ran all over them. So, part of their game plan is to figure out a way for their offense to play keep away, grinding out drives, eating the clock against a very tough Baltimore defense.
Keys to the game from a Patriots perspective:
Win the Turnover Battle – One interesting tidbit from the Ravens season so far is that they are 5-0 when they have a positive turnover ratio and just 1-2 when they do not. The Patriots are 3-0 with a positive turnover ratio and 0-5 when they’re in the minus.
This is one of those games where if the Patriots have any hopes of stealing one from Baltimore this week, they are going to have to protect the football and force a turnover or two by the defense.
Slow Down the Ravens and Jackson Running – The Patriots, as we mentioned above don’t have the depth and size to match up with the Ravens running game. But they must find a way to at least slow down the running game enough to force them into passing situations.
Lamar Jackson said on the Rich Eisen Show that opposing teams are calling out the Ravens’ plays, signaling that opponents are beginning to figure out what they are doing. The Ravens struggled last week in the first half against the Colts but then went uptempo and looked much better.
Mark Schofield on his excellent podcast “The Scho Show” that last year the Patriots began last year with 3-4 base which didn’t work then went to a 3-5-3 which failed as well. He thinks they could be a 5-1 front could be the way the defense approaches things against the Ravens…very interesting, and I think he could be right.
Open Up On First Down – The Patriots offense is running the ball far too much on first down. Yes, they are a run-first team but against a defense as stout as Baltimore’s, if they fall into that trend, the Ravens will stack the box and put the offense in 3rd and long situations where their pass rush can bring the heat.
McDaniels needs to trust Newton to make some plays on 1st down through the air, to loosen up the defense a little bit. If they can do that, the running game will have a much better chance of success. But if they’re running 75-80 percent on 1st down, then they’ll not fare well. They need Newton to be the MVP version of himself, both passing and running this week if they want to force an upset.
The Ravens are a seven-point favorite for a reason. They match up well with the Patriots both offensively and defensively. I would love to say that the Patriots are going to find a way to stop that offense and score enough points to win. I think Jackson has another big game this week and Baltimore rolls… Ravens 35-13
Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Season
Tags: Baltimore Ravens Bill Belichick Cam Newton Devin McCourty Jakobi Meyers James White Lamar Jackson Mark Andrews Mark Ingram Matthew Judon New England Patriots Patriots edge rushers Pernell McPhee Rex Burkhead Stephon Gilmore Yannick Ngakoue