OUR DEFENSE- All week I've heard about the Ravens' defense being so great and very little about the Patriots' defense. Well, our defense has been outstanding this year. Usually a bend but don't break defense, they are bending less than usual. Unlike last year the core of the team is in tip top shape and hungry for the playoffs. During the course of the week there was a lot of chatter about how the Ravens get a lot of pass interference calls on passes that Joe Flacco throws short. While I'm sure the Patriots are beyond ready for that move, I think the referees will also be more cognizant of it when throwing or pocketing their flags. Another interesting thing I noticed last night when checking out various players' statistics for the past few season is that both Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner have a lot more pass deflections in the cold weather.
SCORE EARLY AND HOLD ON- While the Patriots are definitely capable of making a comeback if needed, they should be able to completely dominate the Ravens if they score first. The Patriots' offensive line has done a great job protecting Tom Brady when ahead in games. Over the last 8 games they haven't given up a sack when leading. Conversely, the Ravens only have 5 sacks when trailing this season. While they do have a lot of sacks, most of them have occurred on 3rd or 4th downs with 3 or more yards to go.
WEEK 16 HOUSTON TEXANS- The Houston Texans manhandled the Ravens a few weeks ago. Flacco was 21 of 50 for 195 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. His QBR was 3.2 and rating 41.7. The rushing leader was Justin Forsett with 10 carries for 19 yards. The only reason the team only had 5 three and outs in the game was because the three interceptions occurred within the first three snaps of each possession. So, why does this matter you wonder? In case you don't follow other teams or pay attention to coaches, here are a few names which should ring a bell: