Ravens-Patriots: Injuries Surround Brady, Mistakes Haunt Ravens

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Baltimore Beatdown: Ravens Need To Bring The Pain

The Baltimore Ravens have traditionally been known for a punishing defense. Baltimore Beatdown wants the Ravens to bring the pain on Sunday and punish the Patriots.

Teams around the league might not say it publicly, but they fear the pain that both the Ravens and their division counterparts, the Pittsburgh Steelers, bring each game. Football is a violent game but the Ravens and Steelers bring the brutality like few other teams due week in and week out, despite the losses both teams have suffered this season. Teams have to fight to the end to earn their victories over the Ravens and the Patriots are already dealing with recent or lingering injuries that might affect their abilities to play at full strength. Meanwhile the Ravens are flexing their muscles with their impressive running game that has seen both Ray Rice and Willis McGahee have huge games down the stretch and pound the rock as well as anyone the Patriots have faced all season.

If the Ravens can limit the penalties and mistakes, unlike what they did in the teams’ first meeting, then there is no reason why Baltimore cannot run over the Patriots and win that game…

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Pats Pulpit: New England's Run Game Needs To Step Up

We all know that Tom Brady is banged up. At least, we know vaguely and reportedly that he is, this being the Patriots and all (Bill Belichick should run the CIA after his coaching career is over). Brady won’t have Wes Welker to utilize for the quick passes. If Baltimore can get to Brady and knock him around on a cold day, they could limit his effectiveness.

How to combat that scenario? Besides getting good pass protection, a potent running game allows you to keep Brady out of danger and it controls the clock. If you can get a lead and run the ball effectively, you can force the other team to get pass happy, and that’s definitely not something the Ravens would like to do.

But does New England have such a ground game? Pats Pulpit says they better and has it as one of the keys to victory.

Discover a running game. We have [Sammy] Morris and Freddy [Taylor] back. [Laurence] Maroney has gone AWOL, but he has been jotted down with a bum knee for the past week or two. [Kevin] Faulk has remained healthy, but he is not a workhorse back that we need to keep the Ravens’ defense honest and keep them from stacking the secondary. Maroney usually heats up in the playoffs so hopefully he will make a big return for us. Freddy’s been doing well and ran well in his real comeback against the Texans with limited reps (which is all he SHOULD get in the playoffs). Sammy Morris did well against the Jaguars, but has been very inconsistent. However, he remains an extra veteran body if needed. Faulk will be a threat in the short passing game, but he might be needed to run. Running will give Brady time. That’s what’s needed. Control the clock and we can make the Ravens resort to the passing game more than necessary.

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Ravens-Patriots: Injuries Surround Brady, Mistakes Haunt Ravens

Baltimore Ravens (9-7) @ New England Patriots (10-6)

1:00 PM ET, January 10, 2010
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
CBS

In the one "original" game during Wild Card Rematch Weekend, the Baltimore Ravens visit the Northeast and tangle with the New England Patriots. The Pats meal-ticket, Tom Brady, is banged up but still playing. Unfortunately, his favorite target, Wes Welker, won't be after suffering a season-ending injury in Week 17. They still have Randy Moss, and their running game has shown some life, will that be enough? Baltimore would like nothing better than to get to Brady and inflict more punishment, and then use their running back corps to dominate the ground game. All eyes will be on Brady and his medical chart.

Pats Pulpit wonders with all Brady has accomplished this year, why is he such an afterthought in the MVP process?

Pats Pulpit:

Going by NFL stats, he's in the top five for every category that matters.  Oh, did I mention he's done a lot of this with cracked/broken/fractured ribs AND a broken throwing hand ring finger?  Yeah, small detail.  I work in an office at a computer and if I had 3 cracked/broken/fractured ribs and a broken finger, I'd be huddled over my keyboard in pain.  Tom Brady PLAYS FOOTBALL!!!  The fact that he's accomplished what he has with those injuries blows my mind.

Oh, and you may counter he's not at the top of the list in any of the stats linked above and you would be right.  He's not.  However, if you believe in Football Outsiders, you will notice that Wonderboy is ranked 1st using DYAR and 2nd for DVOA.  No seat at the table.  Yeah great.

Brady has done remarkable work under trying circumstances but the Pats are not the same team as the dynasty of previous years. But as long as #12 is under center, they still believe.

For injury status on Vince Wilfork, check out more.

Baltimore Beatdown has the prescription for a Ravens win at Foxboro. He notes that the Pats are 8-0 at home this year and that Brady will be Brady - and work over the Ravens pass defense. But, if the Ravens can quit beating themselves with mistakes, they can take the Pats defense.

Baltimore Beatdown:

Should New England choose to stack the box, then they will pay two ways. If Rice or even McGahee get through the line into the second level, a stacked box might result in a wide open lane to paydirt. If they think they can shut down the Ravens receivers all day one-on-one, they will see that they are sadly mistaken as the Patriots DB's are nothing like many that the Ravens have faced this season. If Flacco gets the protection he needs and has time, he will be the one to pick apart the Patriots' secondary.

Look, we all know what Brady can and probably will do to the Ravens pass defense Sunday. what we don't know exactly, is how the Ravens will respond. Luckily, neither do the Patriots and we all will see Sunday afternoon if the Ravens have the abilities to play this way for sixty full minutes. If they can, they should win the game regardless of Brady's performance. This might seem like bold words, but every Ravens fan knows this team is capable of so much more than they showed in 2009 and hopefully the best and most complete game of the season is just ahead of them, starting Sunday.

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