AFC powers will collide in Baltimore as the Patriots look to light up the scoreboard while the Ravens are determined to shut it down. Which way are we looking to place our NFL picks on this game's total, and have the odds makers left any doors open?
New England Patriots -
think Patriots football you think of a high octane explosion featuring Tom
Brady targeting Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and various and
sundry deep threats with this year's edition being Brandon Lloyd.
The Pats got
their old offensive coordinator back when Josh McDaniels came back after a
rough ride with the Broncos organization. McDaniels was the man with the plan when Tom Brady locked on to Randy
Moss like a heat seeking missile back in 2007 and smashed NFL passing and
receiving records. So, one would think
some of that old magic would be rekindled now that the guru has returned. One would think.
were clean, crisp and effective against the Titans in the opening week of the
season when they defeated Tennessee 34-13. It was a workmanlike performance by the offense, but despite the 34
points, it didn't seem like the frenetic, laser show that Brady and company had
displayed in the past. But nobody was
complaining because it was a dominating performance and the defense looked
came the debacle last week in Foxboro. The Patriots defense came to play but unfortunately so did
Arizona's. The play calling was cautious
to say the least and there was almost a zealot like adherence to the run. Granted they liked what they saw the week
before when Stevan Ridley rushed up, down and around the Titans but this
Cardinals run stop unit was far more capable and the Pats coaching staff did
Baltimore Ravens -
put the entire league on notice when Joe Flacco and the revamped, souped-up
Baltimore offense scorched the Bengals for 44 points and stymied the dynamic
duo of Dalton and Green, limiting the Cincinnati offense to a meager 13
points. Even last week Flacco launched
the ball 42 times against the bend but don't break Eagles and it was almost
good enough to come away with a huge road victory over Philly.
defense may be a bit long in the tooth but it is still one of the best around
despite being ranked in the lower third in passing and rushing yards allowed
after only two games. It is still early
and the Ravens D will steadily climb up that ladder.
The Total -
has gone OVER the posted number in 4 of New England's last 6 games when playing
on the road in Baltimore. The first
factor at work when making my NFL picks on this game will be the stark realization by Bill Belichick
and Josh McDaniel that as long as Brady is under center, this is a pass first
offense and as much cache as a balanced attack has in this pass happy league,
it doesn't mean diddly if your team is on the losing end.
attacked this Ravens secondary with a great degree of success when he threw for
over 370 yards and a touchdown. But he
also found out the more you throw, the greater the chance of the ball being
picked off, especially by a an opportunistic defense like Baltimore's. Vick was picked off twice in that game and
threw only one touchdown but his team was able to sting the Ravens and wound up
on the right of a 24-23 decision. Thus I
believe that Brady will be able to pierce Baltimore's armor on Sunday and will
be good for at least a pair of touchdowns while Ridley may vulture his fair
share of goal line touchdowns.
On the other
side of the ball is the second factor in play. The Ravens offense looks good, real good. Joe Flacco is an upper echelon quarterback
and he is better than most despite what some people say. The Pats defense got much younger and more
aggressive but they are also more inexperienced. I
believe that the NFL odds makers have set the bar a bit low in this matchup, and this game will be all about the offense.
Free NFL Pick: This total should fly Over 48