Saturday is the start of the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs and the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots will kick things off at 4:35pm EST. This will be the fourth time that the two teams will meet in the postseason since 2010. Like the previous match-ups, the game will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
While the Patriots have dominated the Ravens during the regular season (NE leads, 7-1), it has been a different story during the playoffs. The Ravens have taken two of three from the Pats in the postseason and, as we all know, could have won every contest.
Needless to say, the Ravens will not be intimidated by being on the road against Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the rest. As a matter of fact, Baltimore seems to thrive away from M&T Bank Stadium in pressure situations. Counting Super Bowl 47, the Ravens have won four-straight playoff games outside of their home venue.
QB Joe Flacco continues to amaze during his postseason run of awesomeness. Over his last five playoff games–all wins–Flacco has thrown for 13 touchdowns and no interceptions.
His task will be a little tougher Saturday against a Patriots’ defense that has been rather stingy when it comes to giving up points. New England allows only 19.6 PPG (8th in NFL) and over their last four games, they are allowing only 15.0 PPG. They are second in the NFL in turnover differential (+12) so ball security will be key, of course.
The Ravens are going to need Justin Forsett to be a factor running the football. After a great regular season (1266 yards, 8 TD’s), Forsett has been rather quiet as of late. His reemergence would be great for Baltimore.
Can the Ravens win? Sure.
Will they? I’m not feeling it.
It’s hard to doubt Flacco right now, but I see Brady putting up some numbers and the Patriots winning at home.
Patriots 31 Ravens 17
Keep in mind, I picked the Steelers last week.
My other NFL picks are:
Seattle Seahawks 20 Carolina Panthers 13
Green Bay Packers 34 Dallas Cowboys 24
Indianapolis Colts 27 Denver Broncos 24
Enjoy the games.
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