Following a hard fought Week 2 win over the Steelers excitement has returned to New England and Pats Nation, hopefully not just in a temporary capacity. There would already be some energy about Sunday, seeing as it’s the home opener. Now, add in a spot of confidence that the Pats, who we heard nothing but bad things about all offseason, can win a game, and then add the hated Ravens coming to town? Light the grill, toss on the tips, crack a cold local and let’s get this pre-game party started!
As for the game itself...there’s every reason to believe it will be a hard fought affair. The Patriots, while hardly a midsummer’s fireworks display of offensive firepower (at times more like three kids down the street with some whistlers and a bottle rocket), have a surprisingly stout defense that’s playing well at all three levels. Meanwhile, the Ravens arrive with The Lamar Jackson One Man Show headlining their offense. Their key running backs of JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards are still injured, meaning Jackson, who’s seeking a record QB deal, is doing it all himself. And he’s more than capable. However the Ravens defense is far from the ferocious Ray Lewis and Ed Reed days of old. They allow more pass plays of 40+ yards than any team in the NFL, and can’t generate the pass rush we remember in the Terrell Suggs era. Seems like a perfect time for Mac Jones to be allowed to cook a bit or take some shots downfield like last Sunday to Nelson Agholor.
All this might lead one to think there would be a split in terms of predictions, giving the Pats a fighting chance to take their record over.500. And yet it seems the majority of the football world is banking on a win from a redemption minded Lamarvelous (the Ravens were embarrassed last Sunday blowing a 21 point lead en route to a 42-38 home opener loss to Tua and the Dolphins). Which is probably the way Belichick likes it, a bulletin board full of people picking against them.
CBSSports.com went six for seven with the Ravens, the lone Patriots pick coming from Audacy NFL Insider and Baltimore area sports talk show host Jason La Canfora (an excellent guest on this week’s 6 Rings podcast).
Though it should be noted Pete Prisco of CBS Sports is calling for a squeaker of a Pats win!
Sports Illustrated also sees the Ravens pulling out a close one.
USA Today - Seven out of seven football writers all went Ravens.
The entirety of the Boston Globe sportswriters went with the Ravens. Shame!
USA Today is all in favor of the Ravens.
The Sporting News has the Ravens in a close one.
And The Ringer’s Shael Kapedia joins the majority, calling for the favored Ravens to cover the spread.
Here’s hoping a hearty early autumn slice of humble pie is served to one and all who went against the Patriots. Be sure to catch the 6 Rings Postgame Show on Sunday right after Pats/Ravens for all the analysis, reactions, audio and more to see if the national football people got it right or wrong.