So I was pleasantly pleased that my prediction went awry on Sunday. The Falcons kept it close for about a half before Brady and the Pats pulled away. We’re finally getting back into that Belichick groove of keeping it close for a while and then changing everything around in the second half.
So the Patriots are sitting pretty, second place in the AFC East at 2-1 behind the annoyingly undefeated Jets. And now they face their biggest test of the season, thus far: The Bodymore, Murderland Ravens.
As tough a battle as this is gonna be, we’re catching them at the right time; just now coming into our own.
So, how do we match up? Take a gander, will you?
Quarterback – Joe Flacco has twice as many touchdowns through three games. The Unibrowed One has avoided the sophomore slump thus far. Let’s hope that ends early Sunday. Edge? Ravens.
Backfield – Willis McGahee has come back from the dead and Ray Rice has been steamin’ down the field. (Thank God I got that Rice-A-Roni Rice Jokebook on Amazon this week.) The Patriots run-by-committee approach has yielded next-to-nothing. The Ancient Fred Taylor is the only guy actually accumulating any yards at this point. Edge? Ravens.
Receivers – Randy Moss is again one of the top five receivers in the league, but he has yet to get in the end zone. If Welker doesn’t see the field again this weekend, we could be in for a long afternoon. (Or a long morning on my side of the states.) On the other side, Mason, Clayton, Washington and Heap have been making Wacko Flacco look incredible. Edge? Ravens.
O-Line – Baltimore has the best offensive line in football. Period. You could make an argument for the Giants and Jets, but the additions of Matt Birk and Michael Oher have given the Ravens their greatest Super Bowl hopes since 2000. Patriots line? Still old. Edge? Ravens.
D-Line – Without Vince Wilfork, that Baltimore O-Line will look even better than it already does. Ex-BC Eagle Ron Brace should be preparing for his first career NFL start. Make the Jesuits proud, Ronny. The Ravens have Trevor Pryce, Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata across the board. Yikes. Edge? Ravens.
Linebackers – Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs are getting on in years, but they’re still two of the better LBs in the league. The Patriots are still desperately missing Mayo, though his limp has gone down noticeably in the last week. Screw it. Slap a brace on him and throw him out there. Thank God for Gary Guyton. Edge? Ravens.
Defensive Backfield – The New England cornerbacks haven’t been shutting people down like divisional rival Darrelle Revis – The Greatest Cornerback of All-Time, according to booth announcers around the globe. But our safeties, namely Brandon Meriweather, have been doling out the hits. Though they do have Ed Reed and Dawan Landry, without Chris McAlister the Ravens’ defensive backfield is their weakest link and this is where we can get them if Welker is healthy and Joey Galloway comes back from the dead. Edge? Pats.
Special Teams – Godkowski. Kicker of balls. (Footballs) Edge? Pats.
Coaching – John Harbaugh’s definitely well on his way, but …still…Belichick. Edge? Pats.
Forecast – I realize this is my first Patriots victory prediction since Week 1, and it happens to be the week we go up against the mainstream media’s nearly-unanimous top team in the league; but I feel like this game means more to New England than it does Baltimore and we’re gonna come out firing. Personally, I think the Jets are the top team in the league right now, anyway. And a New England win here would justify that opinion.
Prediction – New England 36, Baltimore 25.
MVP: SS – Brandon Meriweather. Two picks, two concussions, one player leaves on a stretcher. Gary Guyton snags a late Flacco interception over the middle on a last-minute drive to possibly give Baltimore the lead and Guyton takes it back for the pick-six TAINT and the Patriots move to 3-1.