For Monday Night.
off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been
promoting my books for sale primarily on this site. As a result, I
have sold almost 500 books in the past year. Thank you for your
support and patronage, both are greatly appreciated. I cannot tell
you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft
fans and Patriot fans alike, and mostly thank you to all the fans of
my books and website worldwide.
Christmas Pats Fans.
is more than just a rivalry, it is a grudge match. "For
whatever reason, we've had a lot of competitive matchups here,"
Solder said. "But it really comes down to how we play this week and
what we can do this week."
These two teams have a lot of the same ideals of physicality and
is the preview of the Playoffs for the Pats. This is a "we don't like
them, and they don't like us" game. The next four games all fall into
that category. The last month of the season is really the start of the
Playoffs for the Pats. They can't lose a game if they want to be guaranteed
to host the AFC Champ game, with the Raiders nipping at their heels like
Jack Frost. But is not realistic if they lose at Home. Four grudge matches
against four teams that hate us as much as we hate them, Merry Christmas
a few weeks of the la-dee-da's, we are finally getting some real Playoff
type games, against some real jingle-bell rockin' Playoff QBs. This team
knows the Pats as well as any team in the AFC East. They get up for this
match like they are the Rudolphs playing against the Abominable Snowmen.
these two teams play each other it hurts, like getting coal for Christmas.
always hard fought," Ninkovich said. "Every time I've played
them, I'm pretty sore because they're physical. They're coached well in
all phases of the game."
It is one of those rivalries that is like a Division game, but not a
is a rivalry that was tempered in the Playoffs. "I
have tremendous respect for him, as I do their entire defense,"
Solder said. "The things you see are guys that are competitors, guys
that know what they're doing, guys that make a lot of plays, guys that
give you a lot of challenges."
When these two teams get together it is like the Playoffs.
week is like a Division game against an opponent who is good enough to be
in the Playoffs. "It kind of feels like we're back in the division
here this week," BB said. "We've had a lot of games with the
Ravens through the years, and after being in the NFC West this is
definitely a team that has a lot of familiar faces. [Ravens are] really
playing well. They obviously played great against Miami. They're really
strong in all three phases of the game, outstanding on defense, very
explosive on offense, well-balanced and always good in the kicking game.
This will be a big challenge for us this week, a lot to prepare for. Good
players, good scheme, well-coached, it's a good organization. It should be
a good opportunity for us to really take the extra time to try to tighten
up as many things as we can and be at our very best Monday night. That's
what we'll need." There will be no quarter given in this game, and
these Franchise build tough teams. "If you want a tough team, you get
tough players," BB said. "If you want a fast team, you get fast
players. If you want a big team, you get big players. If you want a quick
team, you get quick players. It's hard to get all of those. Those guys go
in the top five picks in the draft. After that, you decide what you want.
If you want tall, long guys then you go get them. If you want tough guys,
maybe they're not tall and long but they're tough. If you want fast guys,
you go get fast guys. Maybe they're not tough but they're fast. Maybe
they're not tall but you get what you want. Sure, there are guys that have
those different qualities and if that's what you're looking for, that's
what you want, then there's probably somebody out there that would have
that quality and maybe not one of the other ones that you want. Maybe
somebody else is looking for a different quality. They're all important
but you've got to prioritize somewhere. If you can't get everything then
you prioritize based on what you feel is most important to your
team." Both teams find those physically and mental tough guys in the
is strange to have the meat of the Patriot's schedule in the last four
games of the season. Which of course is the League screwing the Pats
again. The Pats have their four most important games of the season in
December (yes I know we play Miami in Miami on January 1st, but you know
what I mean). And we have to play our biggest non-Division Rival on Monday
Night, and then Travel to Denver on a short week to play our most
feared Non-Division foe. Then two games against our two biggest Division
rivals. And I'm not sure we can afford to lose one, with the Raiders
nipping at our nose.
is the most proven Christmas time QB of the four teams remaining on the
schedule. "I think he's a really good
quarterback who makes some tremendous plays," Ninkovich said.
"Obviously, he does a great job preparing and goes out there and is
all business. You've got to give him credit. He's been able to come in
here and has done a good job. We have to prepare well this week."
But the next three games are also Division type games against Denver, New
Jersey, and Miami (Yes I know NJ and Miami are actually Division games).
Ravens are first in the AFC Central, and look like they could be the only
team that comes out of that Division. They are 7 and 5 after a rough
start. They threw the ball 47 times last week, and Flacco completed 36
passes. Pitta is having one of his best seasons with 51 catches. Plus they
have a three headed monster at WR in Smith, Mike Wallace, and Breshad
Perriman, who is the youngest and fastest of the three.
is not a rookie QB,
who couldn't buy a clue if he held BB hostage for a million bucks. "They're
good. Joe Flacco is one of the top quarterbacks in the league,"
McCourty said. "I think his ability to get the ball down the field
and also his experience and understanding of what's going on out there and
knowing how to attack a defense. I think they've always had a good running
game. They have very good skill players. Offensively that's what you want.
They want to be able to run the ball but they also know they can drop back
and throw the ball. They have a bunch of weapons: Mike Wallace, Steve
Smith, Pitta. Kamar Aiken was here. We know he's a tough football player.
He's going to make plays for them catching the ball. It's a good amount of
guys to stop and we're going to have to try to slow them down."
They have seen it all, and they are leading this team to the Playoffs
again this year.
can kill you deep down field. "Very
dangerous," McCourty said. "We've seen him a bunch of times
whether it was in Pittsburgh or in Miami. It's not just going deep down
the field but it's him in Baltimore catching an over route or catching a
slant and if you miss one tackle and turn it into a foot race you're
probably going to lose that every time. He knows his speed and he knows
when to turn it on. He's a guy that we have to be aware of and making sure
we try to surround him and not let him turn on that speed and get going."
But he has shown that you can't always count on him when you need him
cannot be said about Steven Smith. "I don't
know him personally but I would probably guess his work ethic,"
McCourty said about what makes Smith so great. "To still play at a
high level I think one thing is obviously he's very competitive. He goes
out there and competes his butt off every game for 60 minutes. To keep
getting older and keep getting better you have to probably have a
tremendous work ethic and he obviously has that and he [has been] a tough
matchup for years in this league."
He is going to fly around for 60-plus minutes every Sunday, like his sleigh
is on fire.
Flacco has been getting him the ball for a long time. "He's
definitely going to give his guys a chance," McCourty said about
Flacco. "I think he knows what he can do on the field. He has a very
strong arm. I think all the good quarterbacks, there have probably been
times where they've thrown an interception and are like, ‘I thought I
could get that in there,' and I think that's a part of what makes them
good quarterbacks. You know, having that moxie about you that you want to
try to make a play or that you believe in yourself, you believe in your
guys that you're throwing the ball to. He has a good amount of weapons to
get the ball to so he's definitely going to give his guys a chance to make
some plays and they've shown that they've made them. We've got to
definitely cover guys but also be ready down the field to go up there and
challenge them and make our own plays."
He can throw the ball into tight spots like Santa tossing presents down
Ravens are a solid veteran team who lost its way a little early in the
season. "Every game we're learning different
things, and I think that goes all the way throughout the year because your
team changes a lot over the course of the season with injuries and
adjustments and schemes," Brady said. "You have to adjust when
Gronk goes down. You have to adjust when Dion Lewis comes back. You have
to adjust when Danny goes out. So it's just constant adjustment and trying
to build on certain things and adjust to certain things, and ultimately
you're still trying to move the ball down the field and score points."
But that doesn't matter now, because it looked like they put it all
together last week.
will learn more about what this team will be in January in the 1st quarter
than we learned in the last few games. "I'm
not here to get into a rivalry or anything like that," Edelman said.
"What I can tell you is we've played them in a lot of important
Games that turned into tight brutal fistfights.
games are rarely blowouts, but turnovers can give a team a lead in a
flash. "I think we've done a good job the
last couple weeks, even before those two games, of just attacking the ball
and really just trying to hit that and talk about it every day and do it
in practice," McCourty said. "There are times where we're close,
we don't get it in practice, there's times where we're ripping at the ball
and it doesn't - but you get in the game and it's a mentality now you just
keep doing it and those turnovers will come. So I think it's something
that we've been focusing on, we've got to continue to focus on, keep doing
it at practice and hopefully it shows up on Sundays, or in this case,
The Pats D has to get a TO or two in this game.
Pat defense has to match the Raven's defense who has been very good so far
this season. "They're the first-rated
defense in the league so no one has done a better job over the course of
the season than them," Brady said. "I think they do things
really well in a lot of areas, so they're good in first-down defense, good
in third-down defense, third-and-short, good on the goal line, good in the
red area. They contest every yard, so I think that's the mark of a good
defense. They don't give you anything easy. You have to earn it. I think
they do a good mix with their scheme and also with their personnel, so
we're prepared for a 60-minute game. That's what we're practicing for. If
it's something different than that, then we'll adjust, but we know it's
going to be a good, tough matchup."
The Pats offense cannot stuff any gifts under the Ravens D, like they are
stockings hanging by the fire with care.
also have the guy we love to hate in Terrell Suggs. "It's
his 14th year. He's been a great player for as long as he's been in the
league, and I think he just does a lot of things very well," Brady
said. "He's got all the rush moves. He actually drops into coverage.
He bats down balls. He butches the tight ends coming off the line of
scrimmage. He's really a playmaker for their team, and it's not just
sacking the quarterback like probably most defensive ends.
think he makes plays in a lot of ways. I've seen him intercept slip
screens, jumping up and picking Roethlisberger off, going the other way. I
think he has great instincts. I mean, he definitely plays with his
instincts. So if he feels like the ball is going to go inside, he rips
inside to try to take it away even though that's not really his
assignment. And I think 99 percent of the time, the ball goes inside. I
think he just has great instincts for what he's doing and you can't ever
really count on the same thing from him. I think you have to kind of play
him straight up and see what he's going to do because I think he makes a
lot of really good decisions out there and he makes a lot of plays."
Has he really been killing the Pats for 14-years?
defense is allowing just 74-yards a game on the ground. "Well,
they're very good against the run," BB said. "They're very good
on third-down. They don't give up a lot of points. They get you in a lot
of long-yardage situations. They convert on third-down. It's hard to
score. They don't give up many big plays, so it's pretty simple really.
You have to drive it and if you can't convert on third-down and you don't
get big plays then it's hard to score, and that's what they've done a good
job of." They are only allowing 222 in the air.
is not last year's defense, they got two huge presents at Safety that
seems to have solidified their Defense. "I mean, he's fit in to the
Ravens defense with Webb and Weddle as the safety combination," BB
said. "They have a lot of speed and range back there. Webb came in as
a corner so he has some coverage skill. Weddle's somewhere in that range
to safety to corner skill-wise. He plays safety but he has some skills.
They're both very good at playing the ball in the deep part of the field.
Again, they don't give up many deep balls. Those guys have good range,
good anticipation. Weddle does a lot of different things for them. He
plays near the line-of-scrimmage, he plays back, he covers in man-to-man
situations. He's obviously a good zone player so he gives them a lot of
versatility." This is going to be one fun bloody battle to watch.
Merry Christmas Pats Fans.
me if you'd like a question blogged:
dogs on Main St howl Because they understand.