It’s been an up-and-down week for New England. Between finding out last Friday that tight end Rob Gronkowski is out for the season and then a blowout win over Los Angeles last Sunday, Patriots fans don’t know what to think about their team’s season anymore. As always, though, Bill Belichick and company will only look forward to their upcoming game.
At 10-2, New England is close to clinching the AFC East for the 12th time in the past 13 years. The Patriots’ only second-place finish was to Miami in 2008. Despite missing star quarterback Tom Brady to season-ending knee surgery that year, they still finished with an 11-5 record.
On Monday, the Ravens travel to Gillette Stadium having only won one game against the Patriots in their past three regular season meetings. Baltimore’s last win against New England came in 2012, when Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal from 27 yards just gave them a 31-30 advantage as time expired.
We, of course, remember the thrilling AFC Divisional playoff between these two teams back in 2015, but the Patriots and Ravens last met in the regular season at the end of 2013. Initially touted as a competitive matchup, the reigning Super Bowl champions were humbled by a tough New England defense and the Ravens lost, 41-7.
This week’s matchup features two teams that are picking up steam again.
The Ravens have won four of their past five games, and at 7-5 are currently projected to win the AFC North. Baltimore endured a sloppy four-game losing streak between Weeks 4 and 7, but John Harbaugh and his team have turned their season around since their bye week.
Barring a 27-17 loss to the Cowboys, the Ravens have handled all their opponents well. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns, and posted a superb 119.2 QB rating, last week in their 38-6 win over the Dolphins. Running back Terrance West chipped in with two TDs of his own, including one on the ground and one through the air.
Meanwhile, Mike Wallace has an impressive 537 receiving yards and five TDs in his past six meetings against New England. The former Steeler has caught a touchdown in his past three outings against the Patriots and will look to make it a fourth.
On the other side of the ball, perennial defensive threat and Patriot agitator Terrell Suggs is a constant thorn in Brady’s side. The Ball So Hard University graduate has three sacks and four tackles for a loss in his past three against New England. The six-time Pro Bowl linebacker also has three sacks and three forced fumbles in the past four games this year.
Last week, Brady became the all-time winningest QB, winning his 201st game and surpassing longtime rival Peyton Manning. Through eight games this season, the three-time Super Bowl MVP has put up 2,470 passing yards, 19 TDs, and 113.1 rating.
Malcolm Mitchell has been flying under the radar for much of this year, but over the past three games the rookie wide receiver is averaging 74 yards per game and has three TDs. Julian Edelman, Brady’s favorite target, has 360 receiving yards and a TD in his past four.
LeGarrette Blount leads the league with 13 rushing TDs. James White, New England’s number one scatback option since Dion Lewis’ injury, has four receiving TDs.
It’s hard to count on Belichick and the Patriots losing any games ever. However, the Ravens are among the handful of teams that have given New England trouble on a regular basis. So even if the betting line favors the Brady bunch by seven points, expect some competition from Baltimore.
How to watch
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Place: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Announcers: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
Online: Watch ESPN