Monday Night Football features a marquee matchup between two division-leading teams, with the New England Patriots taking on the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Both teams are firmly in the playoff hunt and are looking to solidify their positions.
The Patriots entered Week 14 at 10-2, but still trailing the Oakland Raiders for the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs. On Thursday night, the Raiders fell out of the top spot when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs. Now, the top spot in the AFC belongs to the Patriots, regardless of whether they win or lose Monday night.
Despite suffering a setback in the season-ending injury to Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots keep rolling, picking up their third straight win with a dominant 26-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. Tom Brady threw for a touchdown and LeGarrette Blount ran for another one. New England’s offense didn’t have to do much, with Jared Goff and the Rams failing to do much of anything. The Pats might be more vulnerable in recent weeks, but Brady and Bill Belichick at the top of their games makes this team a tough out every week.
The Ravens got to 7-5 thanks to a top-level defense, but their offense has struggled to move the ball all year. However, Joe Flacco and company woke up in a big way against the Miami Dolphins. Flacco exploded for 381 yards and four touchdowns as Baltimore cruised to an easy 38-6 win.
The Ravens did an impressive job ending Miami’s six-game winning streak, but the next challenge is to sustain that momentum on offense. It’s the first time all season that Baltimore scored 30 points in a game, while it’s been held to fewer than 20 points six times. Consistency is the key as the Ravens try to hold their lead in the AFC North.
Still, in a road game against the Patriots, the Ravens are firm underdogs here. New England is a favored pick by heavy margins at both ESPN and CBS Sports.
It’s an even bigger margin here at SB Nation, with all eight writers and the OddsShark computer picking the Patriots.
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