PatsDraft.Com

2016 Season Blog.

Pats Vs Ravens.

7-Things For Monday Night.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

First 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.

Merry Christmas Pats Fans.

By TOM

1. Grudge Match- This 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 toughness.

This 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 Pats Fans.

After 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.

When these two teams play each other it hurts, like getting coal for Christmas. "It's 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 Division game.

It 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.

This 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 none taken.

Both 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 Draft.

It 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.

Flacco 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).

The 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.

Flacco 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.

Wallace 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 most.

That 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.

And 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 the chimney.

The 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.

We 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." Games that turned into tight brutal fistfights.

These 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, Monday." The Pats D has to get a TO or two in this game.

The 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.

They 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.

"I 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?

This 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.

This 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.

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The dogs on Main St howl Because they understand.

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