During last week’s AFC divisional contest between the New England Patriots and Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens reserve linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo made some disparaging comments about the Patriots high tempo offense. In his comments the special teams player called the Patriots up-tempo style a “gimmick” giving the Patriots an idea of how the Ravens perceive their upcoming opponent. These comments give the Patriots a strong indication of what should beat the Ravens in Sunday’s AFC championship game.
The fact that a Ravens defensive player was so concerned about the Patriots up-tempo offense going as far as suggesting a change shows fear. The comments show that the Ravens players cannot keep up with the Patriots fast paced style. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels should use that as a blueprint of how to beat the Ravens vaunted defense.
It does make sense that the Ravens would be worried about how quickly the Patriots offense moves. All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis at 37-years old is in his final season of a Hall of Fame career. Safety Ed Reed and linebacker Terrell Suggs are also getting older at 34-years old and 30-years old respectively. Despite the fact that the Ravens have had one of the NFL’s most feared defenses for over a decade, age is catching up with them and they aren’t able to catch their breath and line up as quickly as the Patriots offense moves.
The Patriots high paced offensive style has been very successful this season especially with all the key injuries they’ve suffered. Due to that success, the team was obviously going to continue that style when they face the Ravens Sunday. But after hearing how some of the Ravens defenders feel about that style, they should attempt to move faster as that will attack the Ravens at their weakest point. Despite a Ravens offense that has improved this season against a Patriots defense that is still somewhat suspect, moving at a faster pace will guarantee more points possibly putting the game out of reach early. The last two times these teams played the game came down to a field goal opportunity and they would prefer for that not to happen again Sunday.
After struggling early in the season the Patriots overcame difficulties and injury to finish with the second best record in the AFC. They handled the Texans last week and are now one win away from repeating as AFC champions. With Ayanbadejo blasting the Patriots for running such a high paced offense, they gave the Patriots the blueprint for running through the Ravens tough defense. The Patriots should use that Sunday to reach their second consecutive Super Bowl.