As the same goes for the other game, I came into this one about 55% sure my prediction was going to reign true when the New England Patriots played the Baltimore Ravens.
My top reasons for picking the Patriots in this game are still among the top reasons that they pulled through on Sunday:
1. The Ravens were poor on the road this year, sporting a mediocre record of 4-4. Not only that, but they were heading into hostile territory.
2. Joe Flacco has been deemed a game manager for obvious reasons. Well, that and Tom Brady was the opposing team’s QB.
Well, actually those really are the only two reasons I picked them, hence my 55% sure confidence. Excellent arguments could’ve been made for the Ravens as well.
In fact, they clearly have the more well-rounded team than the Patriots. They have a decent offense with some play-makers that shined on Sunday such as Torrey Smith. They also have a still punishing defense that also was on display against possibly the top offense in the league.
You also could say that it was the poor teams they failed to show up against in the regular season, not the tough ones. In fact, in their four losses, only one was to a team with a winning record, the Titans. Unfortunately, this argument could go either way, with people claiming it hurts the Ravens for their inability to show up every Sunday. In essence, this is a moot point.
In the end, it was the Patriots that came out on top thanks to a potential game tying field goal attempt from Billy Cundiff from 32 yards out. As close to a surefire three points as you can get, Cundiff shanked the attempt.
Maybe it was just me, but throughout the game, even when the Ravens were leading, I felt like the Patriots were the team that was in control. They were playing to win and the Ravens were playing not to lose. It’s weird to admit, but even with that mentality, I still feel like the Ravens might’ve won.
On the final drive of the game, Flacco fit a ball perfectly over Sterling Moore’s right shoulder into Lee Evans’ bread basket. Evans caught it, but Moore was right on cue, getting enough of the ball to dislodge it from Evans. We see this penalty called in every game, face guarding, yet why not here?
My best explanation is that Moore never actually made contact with Evans until he had caught the ball, along with the importance of that play in the game. Where this penalty could’ve gone either way, the refs were making sure this game wouldn’t be decided by such an iffy call, when others in the past have. I must say, I respect the no-call.
There are going to be arguments either way. If that actually did get called and the Ravens go on to score a touchdown and win the game, fans will be complaining for the same reasons I just gave as to why it was a good call. We’re just splitting hairs here.
At the end of the day, the Patriots came out on top, whether you like it or not, wrong or right and otherwise. If you would’ve told me Flacco out-dueled Tom Brady on the stat sheet clearly, I would’ve guessed the Ravens would’ve won by a couple touch downs. However, that’s what makes Tom Brady so great. On a day where he throws two picks and no touch downs, he still managed to get his team down the field, giving them the opportunity to score. Not only that, but their defense took Ray Rice out of the picture.
The Patriots won this game and no complaints about missed calls can change that at this point, so it’d be best for everyone to just move on. The Ravens had their chance, they just didn’t capitalize. When you out-duel Brady and shut down their running game as usual, there is no reason you aren’t playing the Giants in the Super Bowl.
Yet the Ravens managed to do just that, somehow.