PatsDraft.Com

2016 Season Blog.

Pat Vs Ravens.

7-Things-For-Sunday: Part IiI.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

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Playoff Preview.

By TOM

5. Offensive Explosion- The Ravens have a ton of veteran talent at receiver, and it is not just their WRs who can hurt you. "He's a very productive receiver," BB said about Pitta. "He always has been. They spread the ball around on offense like a lot of West Coast teams do. They play their players in a lot of different positions. You get different combinations of ‘X' to slot to outside receiver and they use multiple tight ends, but Pitta's definitely a go-to guy in the passing game. You've got to do a good job on him, but the other players are explosive, too: Perriman, Wallace, Smith, Aiken. They all show up." They have some deep speed that can change a game in a flash.

Their offense has changed significantly since last we faced them. "I'd say it goes back to Mornhinweg. I mean, we've seen Marty through the years, the West Coast offense, a lot of the things that are his principles," BB said. "I'd say there's a lot of that in place with the team. When you look at Marty who was with the Jets, who we played twice a year, you look at Marty with the Ravens and kind of merge the two personnel-wise, scheme-wise. The quarterback is the same. So Pitta, Steve Smith, Yanda, Zuttah, they've got a lot of the same guys. There's definitely some turnover." The defensive backfield has to be looking over their shoulder in this game.

They have a good, but not great O-line, so the Pats have to form a passrush somehow. "I think Baltimore's philosophy from top down is to be physical and aggressive and to have that sort of play style that's going to come in and play the game probably how it should be played for the most part with the pads," Patricia said. "I think they do an excellent job of that as an emphasis as a team. I think it spans through the offense, the defense and the special teams. Certainly from their offensive point of view, [on] their offensive line they have a lot of experienced guys that play very physical, very aggressive.

"Yanda at the guard is an extremely good player. This guy is physical, aggressive, he's athletic, he's all of the above, and Zuttah who is in there and [UMass' Vladimir] Ducasse. I mean they're just big, strong, physical guys up front. I mentioned Steve Smith earlier just being a physical-type player.

"Both these running backs too, West and Dixon, who you'll both see in the game, [have a] very aggressive downhill running style; little different from each other. West has some quickness and some change of direction and Dixon is extremely difficult to tackle. This guy is a downhill, hard-nose runner, and West [as well]. Both of them do a good job of continually trying to get positive yardage. So they'll use the run game, they'll pound, they'll throw the short passing game and they'll block for each other, and they've really done a great job of playing physical in all aspects of the game. [Their] top on the list for us." They have to not let the Ravens get in a grove in the run game this week.

They have to out physical them from start to finish on defense. "I don't know exactly the right English word for it but you just want to make sure [we kick their asses]," Patricia said, for the most part. "We want to play physical, a physical brand of football. We try to do that every week. We're trying to always be physical and aggressive. That's just kind of the game. I think [that's] really what's most fun about the game." Of course forcing Flacco to throw might not be the best plan.

The good news is that they have a lot of experience playing against a Marty offense. "I mean if you go back to that season, the 2014 season with Gary Kubiak, you know we played Marty Mornhinweg too with the Jets," Patricia said. "So there are two games there from that year where there's going to be things that we have to take a look at and take an understanding of what the team is and what they do. Kubiak has a lot of principles that carry over from the West Coast offense from a passing game standpoint and really in the run game it's very similar to what we've seen before also.

"So there is a lot to tie together as far as the overall package and the overall philosophy of what they're trying to do. Certainly Coach Mornhinweg has a great command of this offense and this system. I mean he's been in it for a really long time going back to Coach Holmgren, Mariucci, and Andy Reid so his knowledge and background of the philosophy and the concepts that they want and how they're trying to distribute the ball are excellent. There is quite a bit of carry over and there are some differences too, stuff that is specific to Coach Kubiak when he was there but this is Marty Mornhinweg all the way. The thing is that even just from the transition there are a lot of principles that are carried over from before also. So everything is, just for them, really kind of falling into place." The Pats will get a break when the cold comes in, in the 2nd Half.

6. Defensive Explosion- I'm guessing that they will be changing things up on defense. "I don't try to guess, that's for sure," McDaniels said. "Dean is going to change things up. Dean is going to do the things that have made him successful as a coach and Baltimore successful as a team. I think my concern is not going to be trying to over-analyze how Dean may or may not think about this week, but to try to prepare the best we can with our staff and our players to get ready to play one of the best defenses in the league without question. They're aware of the fact that he was here. He had a great run here and he's doing an incredible job there. Their whole staff does a really great job. Coach Harbaugh, they have a tremendous culture in the way that they play. They're going to do what they do and try to do it better than what we do. Hopefully we'll do a great job of preparing for them and do a great job on Monday night." The Pats will struggle to run on the number one run defense in the NFL.

It is hard to believe how much better this defense is from last season. "We spend a lot of time, we're going to spend a lot of time on Baltimore in every way, shape or form that we can," McDaniel said. "We're certainly; I mean this is as well-coached of a defense that we'll play. They're a physical group that doesn't really give up any easy plays; no big plays, stops the run, makes you one-dimensional, forces you into a lot of third-and-long situations, they're the best third down team in the league. They create a lot of turnovers; they're in the top five in that. They stop the run; second in points, 12th in sacks.

"They challenge you on every play and they don't give up any easy yards. That's the sign of a team that's well-coached, disciplined, knows their scheme really well. They have a tremendous amount of good players on all three levels of the defense. We're going to study what they've done this year. We'll study some of the things we've done against them in the past because those games, there's some relevance there, although there are a lot of things that are different, you always like to go back and just take a look at how things were and how they might have played against you and some things that might have worked against you. There is a lot of work to be done this week. They have some new faces on the defensive side, some guys in some different spots than where they were the last time we were preparing for them, and this will be a very significant challenge for us this week. This is as good of a defense as we've played." This defense is such a good test for the Pats Playoff chances on both offense and defense.

7. Pats Win- So how do the Pats win. It likely starts with the run game to help keep the passrush off of Brady. "Good," BB said when asked about his feelings for Blount. "He has run well for us. He's made a lot of tough yards. He's also made some big plays for us, has ripped off some big, explosive plays. He's been out there every week. Yeah, he's done a good job. He's had a solid year for us, no doubt about it." The run game is likely to decide the game tonight.

It would be much funner to watch them pass up and down the field, but I think this turns into an ugly, fist-fighting, muck-raking, slug fest. And the toughest team will pull it out.

However, I do think the Pats have the advantage. If this game was in Baltimore I might pick the Ravens (but I'd deny it later). I think Home field, a better run game (though the Raven's have a better run defense), and the bad New England weather is just barely enough to give the Pats the win.

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