Patriots vs. Ravens: Bold Predictions for Sunday Night's Crucial Matchup

Tim KeeneyContributor ISeptember 23, 2012

FOXBORO, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots drops back to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the game on September 16, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Just over a week ago, the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens were No. 1 and 2 on a lot of people's power rankings, respectively. After tonight's battle, one of them will be under .500. 

After inspiring Week 1 victories for both teams, it was a disastrous Week 2.

The Patriots fell at home to the Arizona Cardinals despite being two-touchdown favorites. The Ravens fell to the Philadelphia Eagles, which isn't as bad, but the Eagles looked terrible in Week 1 and are getting trounced by that same Cardinals team right now.

Suddenly, both teams really need a win on Sunday night.

Let's take a look at what to expect. 


Ray Rice Picks up Double-Digit Receptions

If John Harbaugh is smart (this is a risky statement), he'll slow the game down, put the ball in his Pro Bowl running back's hands and keep Tom Brady off the field. 

Unfortunately for Baltimore, running the ball against the Pats isn't quite as easy as it used to be. Through two games, the improved front seven has held running backs to a minuscule 2.6 yards per rush. 

It's a good thing Joe Flacco is much more trustworthy without his mustache, and Ray Rice can do pretty much everything. Look for plenty of dump-offs in order to get Rice involved outside of the likely crowded trenches. 


Tom Brady Throws for 300 Yards

You might think this is about as bold as saying Lucky Charms are delicious.

But the Ravens' defense is about as stout as it gets, Brady is on the road and he's without Aaron Hernandez. Knowing those factors, this prediction becomes about as bold as saying Cheerios are delicious.

I'm going waaay more out on a line here. 

Anyways, my main reason for picking Brady to have a big game despite the less-than-stellar situation? He was pretty sucky last week. 

Mr. Gisele did rack up 316 yards against Arizona, but he completed just 61 percent of his passes and compiled an atrocious 30.6 QBR

Brady is too good to have two bad games in a row. It's the law of averages. 


Defensive TD Wins the Game

Tom Brady is Tom Brady. Joe Flacco is playing the best football of his career. We know both of these teams can score points.

Naturally, a defensive play will decide the winner. That's just how the NFL works.