So, here we are. It’s Week 16; it’s Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots and wouldn’t you know it, each team has major playoff implications riding on this game. For the Ravens, a win would setup a Week 17 winner-takes-all game against the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC North title. In addition, the win would keep the Ravens in the last Wild Card spot where they currently sit. A win for the Patriots would clinch the AFC East crown and keep the Pats in the No. 2 seed where they currently sit.
I’ll forego my normal format where I list some possible scenarios of what could happen in the game. We all know what this is going to be: a back and forth intense game that comes down to the last drive. The only thing to wonder is who will be leading the last drive, Joe Flacco or Tom Brady? It’s a little worrisome that Flacco will be playing with a knee brace to protect a mildly sprained MCL. After a few drives, it will be easy to tell how much the injury will actually effect him. The Patriots are really banged up and Brady could be in line to take a lot of punishment as LT Nate Solder will probably be out for this game, with LG Logan Mankins moving to the tackle spot. The Ravens’ defense will fine regardless; they always play well at home. The key for the Ravens this game will be if they can get anything out of the running game. If Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce can get over 100 yards rushing combined, then the Ravens probably win easily.
The one thing that makes me a little nervous about this game is that I’m not really nervous about this game. The Ravens are actually favored here (two points), Skip Bayless is actually saying nice things about them and dogs and cats are living together in harmony. Is there something fishy about all of this or am I just used to the Ravens always being able to play the disrespect card? Either way, I like the Ravens here in a close game, like always. Just try to not have a heart attack sweating out Brady’s last drive.
Ravens 23, Patriots 17.
Read more from Dan Abeshouse here.