Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ravens bring Pats to the edge

The Ravens were looking like they had slain the Juggernaut, but then they remembered they were the Ravens and played accordingly.

The Ravens caught the Patriots napping. With their division already wrapped up and the 1st seed in the playoffs likely to be wrapped up in the coming weeks it's not surprising that the Patriots may not be taking opponents like the Eagles and the Ravens seriously. In a way I think these last two games were the equivalent to the second half slump the Red Sox faced this year. The Red Sox amassed a large lead by the All Star break, coasted through the second half getting enough wins to secure the first seed in the playoffs, and then turned it back on for the playoffs. It might actually be to the Patriots BENEFIT to lose to the Dolphins and the Jets in the hopes that maybe the 49ers will slip under them in the standings and the Patriots will get a higher pick in next year's draft, but somehow I doubt that's what coach Belichick has in mind.

About the game itself:
1) The Patriots failure to score in 3 tries on the 1 yard line is the biggest offensive let down this year. When the Ravens were being penalized left and right and they lined up on that one yard line I figured this week we were back to business as usual. All year long they've been getting that hard yard, it's concerning that they didn't this time.

2) Randy Moss was again a non-factor for the second straight game. This is primarily because Moss was being mugged on every snap. Teams have finally figured out that they need to not only double cover Randy Moss, they need to bend the rules.

3) The severe winds in Baltimore seemed to seriously effect Tom Brady's ability to throw accurately. There were a number of misthrown and dropped passes. The Ravens had a distinct advantage as their running back Willis McGahee is a much better back than either Laurence Maroney or Kevin Faulk. The Patriots defense looked helpless against McGahee for much of the game, fortunately they were able to stuff him when it counted in the later minutes with the clock winding down.

4) Ravens coach Brian Billick responded to some trash talk from Rodney Harrisson by blowing him kisses....just a little creepy.


Jeff K. said...

Interesting point on letting the Jets and Dolphins win to get a better pick. I actually saw a mock draft today which had the Patriots with the number 2 overall pick, which which was projected to be Darren McFadden. What are your thoughts on him in the Patriots organization?

MIke said...

As I said in an earlier post, I really like the idea of McFadden in the Patriots organization. Granted, the only times I've really gotten a good look at McFadden was the second half in the upset against LSU and what I've seen on the highlight reels, but what I have seen is truly impressive and shows he has the potential to be a great RB in the NFL. With Tom Brady's pass game pulling defenders out of the box into coverage a good running back should be able to clean up. Sammy Morris sort of did this and Laurence Maroney is failing to do this, which makes me question the future of Maroney with this franchise. A high profile running back like McFadden might make the Patriots offense truly unstoppable.