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In-Depth Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Patriots vs. Ravens Prediction

Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 8:20pm EST
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore

This article covers a past game!

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In-depth Coverage

This is an in-depth analysis of this game, covering every possible detail and angle. Use the table of contents to navigate between each section, or just jump on in!

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Table of Contents

Last Updated: Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 4:00pm EST

Introduction

After hardly breaking a sweat in the first half of the season while winning all eight of their games, the New England Patriots figure to get a stern challenge from the Ravens as the two AFC division leaders square off in Baltimore on Sunday Night Football.

Both teams have created separation in their respective divisions -- the Patriots (8-0) are 2 1/2 games clear of the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East while the Ravens (5-2) are two games ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North. New England has won its last four games by a combined 94 points since being pushed by Buffalo in a 16-10 road win in Week 4, while Baltimore has reeled off three straight victories since back-to-back losses to Kansas City and Cleveland.

This line has already seen wild swings of movement since opening last Tuesday with the Patriots as 6.5-point favorites, quickly dropping to 3.5 as of late Monday night. That may be because the combined record of New England's eight opponents is 14-42 coupled with Baltimore's impressive 30-16 victory at NFC West contender Seattle on Oct. 20 before entering its bye week.

The over/under also has taken a quick dip from its open at 46.5 points, dropping to as low-side TD+FG hook of 44.5.

New England Patriots Review

The wheel keeps on rolling for the Patriots, who had little trouble disposing of the Cleveland Browns 27-13 last Sunday at home in a rain-soaked affair that also marked coach Bill Belichick's 300th career victory when including the playoffs.

New England forced turnovers on three consecutive plays in the first quarter, highlighted by Dont'a Hightower's 26-yard fumble return, to grab a 17-0 lead in the first 13:13 of the contest.

New England forced three turnovers, raising its league-leading takeaway total to 25 -- nine more than the teams tied for second -- and recorded five sacks to take over the league lead in that category with 31. The Patriots also have five defensive touchdowns, which is one more than they have conceded through the first eight games.

The Patriots have trailed for just 13:51 of a possible 480 minutes, all coming in the first and second quarters against the Washington Redskins.

Tom Brady dealt with the elements to complete 20 of 36 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns, while Sony Michel kept the chains moving with 76 yards on 21 carries. Mohamed Sanu had a quiet debut after being acquired from Atlanta during the week, finishing with two catches for 23 yards as Brady looked the wide receiver's way five times overall.

New England is seeking its first 9-0 start since winning its first 10 games of the 2015 season. A victory would also guarantee a 19th consecutive season above .500 for the Patriots, which would extend the NFL record they currently hold.

Baltimore Ravens Review

The Ravens went into the bye week with plenty of good vibes from the dual-threat skills of Jackson and some opportunistic plays by the defense. While Jackson has professed an occasional dislike of running the ball, there is little questioning his effectiveness doing so as he recorded his third 100-yard game of the season after totaling 116 and a touchdown versus the Seahawks.

Jackson is averaging 6.9 yards per carry and also has 19 runs of at least 10 or more yards, ranking tied for fourth among all rushers in the latter category. He is 10th in the NFL with 576 yards and well on pace to join Michael Vick as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards after Vick had 1,039 with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006.

The Ravens are averaging an NFL-best 204.1 rushing yards, having gained at least 138 in every game. They also rank second in the league with 5.54 yards per carry.

Jackson remains a credible passing threat, completing 63.3 percent of his passes for 1,650 yards and 11 touchdowns with five interceptions. The bye week did come at an opportune time for rookie wideout Marquise Brown, who is expected to return after missing the last two games with an ankle injury. The first-round pick had totaled 21 receptions for 326 yards and three TDs in his first five games.

The defense did well to fluster Russell Wilson, holding him under a 50 percent completion rate, and also scored two touchdowns directly off the turnovers it forced versus Seattle. Marcus Peters had an instant impact in his Ravens debut after being acquired form the Los Angeles Rams, returning an interception 67 yards for a touchdown in the first half, and Marlon Humphrey put the game out of reach with an 18-yard fumble recovery for a score in the fourth quarter.

The Running Game

New England Patriots Running Offense
vs. Baltimore Ravens Running Defense

New England Patriots Running Offense

The Patriots continue to be a team that grinds out yards on the ground. The offensive line is arguably the weakest link of this team, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is not going to shy away from the commitment to the run game as a means of keeping defenses off-balance along with the hope Michel can occasionally pop off a big gain.

The struggles of the ground game have weighed on offensive line coach Dave Scarnecchia, who took blame after Sunday's win despite not having three of his projected Week 1 starters. Right guard Shaq Mason was a limited participant at practice Wednesday as he recovers from an ankle injury, while left tackle Isiah Wynn returned to practice for the first time since suffering a toe injury in Week 2. Wynn, though, is not eligible to come off IR until Week 12.

“I think it’s everything. I think we have to do things better. I have to coach better,” Scarnecchia told the Providence Journal when asked what the Patriots have to do better. “I have to coach a lot better than I’ve been coaching. Let’s start with that. We have to do things a lot better than what we’re doing.”

Baltimore Ravens Run Defense

The Ravens are third in the league against the run, yielding 84.3 yards per game, but 18th in yards per carry allowed at 4.34 per tote. Baltimore has also done a good job preventing big plays, ranking second with 14 opponents' runs of 10 or more yards.

Yet there is still a sense Baltimore can be had against the run. Three teams have topped 100 yards rushing, with two teams -- Cleveland and Seattle -- possessing elite running backs. Michel may be a level below both Nick Chubb and Chris Carson, but the Patriots are not going to shy away from giving him carries despite the challenge.

The Ravens, though, will get a boost with the return of leading tackler Patrick Onwuasor, who missed the last two games with an ankle injury. Onwuasor thrived after being shifted to weakside linebacker after starting the first four games at middle linebacker as Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort have shifted wide.

"They're a very good run defense. They have good run players, they have several disruptive players up front, guys that are hard to block," Belichick noted at his Wednesday news conference. "They mix up their coverages. They mix up man, zone, there's some pressure in there. In the end, it's hard to block those guys, and when they have all of their coverage players out there, they're very good at matching up but I'd say it's a multiple defense.

"They're not just going to sit in one thing all day. You're going to have to figure it out to a degree and deal with different problems – man, zone, blitz zone and different combinations of package."

Stats

New England:

Team Rushing Statistics

Carries — 236 (5th)

Carries Per game — 29.5 (29th)

Rushing Yards — 126 (7th)

Rushing Yards Per Game — 95.3 (23rd)

Average Yards Per Carry — 3.23 (30th)

Rushing Touchdowns — 12 (T-2nd)

Individual Rushing Statistics

Sony Michel -- 140 carries/464 yards/3.31 yards per carry/6 TDs

Rex Burkhead -- 27/116/4.30/1

James White -- 23/66/2.87/0

Brandon Bolden -- 13/47/3.62/2

Julian Edelman -- 6/26/4.33/0

Phillip Dorsett II -- 3/21/7.00/0

Damien Harris -- 4/12/3.00/0

Antonio Brown -- 1/5/5.00/0

Tom Brady -- 14/3/0.21/3

James Develin -- 2/3/1.50/0

Josh Gordon -- 1/1/1.00/0

Jarrett Stidham -- 2/-2/-1.00/0

Baltimore

Team Rushing Defense (Opponent Offensive Rank)

Opponent Carries —  136 (32nd)

Opponent Carries per game — 19.4 (31st)

Opponent Rushing Yards — 590 (31st)

Average Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game — 84.3 (30th)

Average Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry — 4.34 (15th)

Opponent Rushing TDs — 8 (T-9th)

Individual Defensive Statistics

Patrick Onwuasor -- 23 solo tackles/7 assists/30 tackles/0 stuff/2 TFL

Earl Thomas III -- 15/9/24/0/0

Brandon Carr -- 21/2/23/1/2

Marlon Humphrey -- 18/4/22/2/3

Matt Judon -- 15/6/21/1.5/5

Maurice Canady -- 19/2/21/0/0

Chuck Clark -- 14/7/21/1.5/1

Tony Jefferson -- 11/10/21/0/0

Michael Pierce -- 13/7/20/1.5/1

Pernell McPhee -- 17/2/19/3/7

Josh Bynes -- 8/8/16/2.5/2

Kenny Young -- 11/2/13/2/3

Anthony Averett -- 11/0/11/0/0

Brandon Williams -- 4/6/10/1/1

Who has the Edge?

Onwuasor's return adds more firepower to an already-formidable Ravens run defense, which is fourth in the league on second down by holding teams to 3.33 yards per carry. Even a stalemate in which Michel keeps falling forward and moving the chains would qualify as a victory for the Patriots, but it will not come easy against this defense.

Advantage: Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens Running Offense
vs. New England Patriots Running Defense

Baltimore Ravens Running Offense

While Jackson is trying to join Vick as the only 1,000-yard rushing quarterbacks, one gets the sense the second-year quarterback is actually a better runner as opposed to scrambling quarterback who gets yards when plays break down. At the same time, he also has an NFL-best 262 yards while scrambling, so there is a pick your poison element trying to defend him.

"He's a major problem and everybody's had trouble with him," Belichick said at his Wednesday news conference. "It'll be a big challenge for us. Yeah, he can do it all. He can run, he can throw, can throw on the run, can extend plays. He's tough."

But focusing on Jackson is an extremely risky proposition given Mark Ingram remains a bruising force between the tackles to complement his quarterback's speed on the edge. Like Michel to a degree, Ingram is the battering ram who wears opposing defenses down before Jackson gasses them with his speed.

He also became a father for the fourth time during the bye week, with his wife Chelsea Peltin-Brown giving birth to their daughter while the family was in Alabama to celebrate Ingram's 10th anniversary of the 2009 Alabama title-winning team.

New England Patriots Run Defense

With Halloween this week, it is only fitting the run defense centers around New England's "Boogeymen," linebackers Kyle Van Noy, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins. The trio are the connective tissue from a defensive line that does its job and a secondary that is one of the best in the league.

The question regarding the Patriots is just how much the run defense has been tested. New England has been playing with a lead for nearly the entire season, which means team's offense tilt to a pass-first mode to try and play catch-up.

The Browns were the first team to sustain a rushing attack against New England this season, and the Ravens have the personnel to do likewise in varying methods, which may be more important than the starpower given the Patriots' shape-shifting ways designed to take away a team's top player or option.

“Anytime you have guys that versatile, able to do a bunch of different things, it’s fun to help game-plan those guys, put them in position to make plays," inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo told the club's official website. "Those guys go out there and do a good job. A bunch of smart guys as well.

“All those guys can play inside, outside, all over the place. I think it puts a lot of stress on offenses, trying to figure out who’s coming [with a blitz], who’s not.”

Stats

Baltimore:

Team Rushing Statistics

Carries — 258 (3rd)

Carries Per game — 36.9 (2nd)

Rushing Yards — 1,429 (1st)

Rushing Yards Per Game — 204.1 (1st)

Average Yards Per Carry — 5.54 (2nd)

Rushing Touchdowns — 10 (T-7th)

Individual Rushing Statistics

Lamar Jackson -- 83 carries/576 yards/6.94 yards per carry/3 TDs

Mark Ingram II -- 99/470/4.75/7

Gus Edwards -- 52/234/4.50/0

Justice Hill -- 18/78/4.33/0

Anthony Levine Sr. -- 1/60/60.00/0

Robert Griffin III -- 4/9/2.25/0

Willie Snead IV -- 1/2/2.00/0

New England:

Team Rushing Defense (Opponent Offensive Rank)

Opponent Carries — 148 (31st)

Opponent Carries per game — 18.5 (32nd)

Opponent Rushing Yards — 682 (24th)

Average Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game — 85.3 (29th)

Average Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry — 4.61 (12th)

Opponent Rushing TDs — 2 (T-30th)

Individual Defensive Statistics

Jamie Collins Sr. -- 35 solo tackles/9 assists/44 tackles/2.5 stuff/7 TFL

Jason McCourty -- 26/8/34/0/0

Jonathan Jones -- 21/11/32/0/0

Dont'a Hightower -- 20/7/27/2/4

Stephon Gilmore -- 21/5/26/0/0

Danny Shelton -- 14/11/25/0/2

Lawrence Guy -- 17/8/25/0/0

Kyle Van Noy -- 13/8/21/1/3

Devin McCourty -- 16/5/21/0.5/0

John Simon -- 10/10/20/1.5/2

Ja'Whaun Bentley -- 15/4/19/0/1

Patrick Chung -- 15/4/19/1/1

Adam Butler -- 8/7/15/2/5

Elandon Roberts -- 9/6/15/0.5/0

Deatrich Wise Jr. -- 10/1/11/0.5/1

Duron Harmon -- 8/3/11/1.5/1

Who has the Edge?

As opposed to having one multidimensional high-quality running back, the Ravens have two quality running backs who have specific strengths. This turns the ground game into a cat-and-mouse contest at the line of scrimmage and how Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman shrouds his personnel formations against the Patriots, who also do substantial subterfuge with their defensive play-calls.

Baltimore ranks second in the league with 51.2 percent of its running plays getting at least four years. Keeping the entire playbook available is paramount of the Ravens are to have any chance of winning this game, and they have the personnel to pull it off. It may be a slight edge, but Jackson and Ingram can get yards.

Advantage: Baltimore Ravens

The Passing Game

New England Patriots Passing Offense
vs. Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense

New England Patriots Passing Offense

Quarterbacks come and go, systems go in and out of vogue, and the list of receivers is as long as the day, but Brady remains. The 42-year-old has not been other-worldly like other seasons, but the Patriots defense has been so good he has yet to be put into a situation where he must win the game.

The challenge facing Brady is integrating recently acquired wide receiver Mohamed Sanu into the passing game. While Sanu can line up anywhere, his primary routes will be the ones Josh Gordon ran until he was lost for the season due to injury. That makes Sanu New England's primary deep threat while both Julian Edelman and Philip Dorsett take care of the short and medium-range game.

"I think we have a lot of guys that are able to do some different things in our offense," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Tuesday via conference call. "We try to utilize our players the best way we can on every snap. So, whether that’s motioning them, putting them in the slot, playing them on the perimeter, blocking in the running game, throwing them short passes, deeper throws.

"Whatever it is, we try to just accentuate their strengths and let them play to the things that they do well."

Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense

Peters made an instant impact, and the Ravens are expected to have what will be a secondary at full strength with the expected return of starting cornerback Jimmy Smith. The nine-year pro suffered a sprained knee just six plays into the season opener versus Miami, and Baltimore's pass defense never truly got in sync without him.

The Ravens rank 26th in the league in passing yards allowed (265.4) and in the bottom quarter for plays of 21 or more passing yards with 27.

The pass rush is also a concern. Baltimore has recorded just 12 sacks on the season and arguably their best pass rusher, Pernell McPhee, was lost for the season with a torn triceps. Matt Judon leads the Ravens with four sacks, and defensive tackles Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams know they must generate pressure up the middle to at least make Brady uncomfortable in the pocket.

“He’s kind of the head of the snake,” Williams told the Ravens' official website. “In order to kill the snake, you’ve got to get the head. That’s what we plan on doing. We’ve just got to push the pocket and play our style of football.”

Stats

New England:

Team Passing Statistics

Passes Attempted — 314 (4th)

Passes Completed — 203 (T-3rd)

Completion Percentage — 64.6 (14th)

Gross Passing Yards — 2,297 (6th)

Net Passing Yards – 2,197 (5th)

Net Passing Yards Per Game — 274.6 (7th)

Average Gain Per Pass Play — 6.70 (16th)

Yards Per Attempt — 7.32 (19th)

Yards Per Completion — 11.32 (17th)

Passing TDs — 13 (T-12th)

Interceptions — 5 (T-16th most)

Times Sacked — 14 (T-23rd most)

Passer Rating — 93.6 (16th)

Individual Passing

Tom Brady — 200 completions/309 attempts/64.7 completion percentage/2,251 yards/13 TDs/4 INT/95.0 passer rating

Julian Edelman -- 1/1/100.0/32/0/0/118.8

Jarrett Stidham -- 2/4/50.0/14/0/1/18.8

Individual Receiving

Julian Edelman -- 53 receptions/574 yards/10.8 yards per catch/4 TDs

James White -- 42/358/8.5/1

Phillip Dorsett II -- 21/286/13.6/4

Josh Gordon -- 20/287/14.4/1

Rex Burkhead -- 15/126/8.4/0

Jakobi Meyers -- 14/172/12.3/0

Brandon Bolden -- 9/111/12.3/1

Ryan Izzo -- 6/114/19.0/1

Sony Michel -- 6/51/8.5/0

Antonio Brown -- 4/56/14.0/1

Ben Watson -- 4/44/11.0/0

Matt LaCosse -- 3/55/18.3/0

Gunner Olszewski -- 2/34/17.0/0

Mohamed Sanu -- 2/23/11.5/0

Jakob Johnson -- 1/5/5.0/0

Eric Tomlinson -- 1/1/1.0/0

Baltimore:

Team Passing Defense Statistics (Opponent Offensive Rank)

Opponents’ Passes Attempted — 251 (20th)

Opponents’ Passes Completed — 149 (27th)

Opponents’ Completing Percentage — 59.4 (30th)

Opponents’ Gross Passing Yards — 1,934 (19th)

Opponents’ Net Passing Yards — 1,858 (T-16th)

Opponents’ Net Passing Yards Per Game — 265.4 (7th)

Opponents’ Yards Per Attempt — 7.71 (10th)

Opponents’ Yards Per Completion — 12.98 (4th)

Opponents’ Average Gain Per Pass Play — 7.06 (8th)

Opponents’ TD passes — 7 (T–26th)

Interceptions — 6 (T-14th)

Sacks — 12 (28th)

Opponents’ Passer Rating — 83.0 (27th)

Individual Defense Sacks and Quarterback Hurries

Matt Judon -- 4.0 sacks/32.0 yards/13 QBH

Pernell McPhee -- 3.0/18.0/6

Tyus Bowser -- 2.0/14.0/3

Patrick Onwuasor -- 1.0/5.0/4

Brandon Carr -- 1.0/7.0/2

L.J. Fort -- 1.0/0.0/1

Interceptions and Passes Broken Up

Marlon Humphrey -- 2 INTs/7 PBU

Marcus Peters -- 1/1

Earl Thomas III -- 1/2

Maurice Canaday -- 1/3

Josh Bynes -- 1/2

Brandon Carr -- 0/4

Tony Jefferson -- 0/3

Anthony Averett -- 0/2

Who has the Edge?

Smith throws a wrench into this equation if fully healthy and able to start, as does Sanu having a full week to absorb the playbook for New England. Teams have been able to throw short against the Ravens, which plays into Brady's wheelhouse with his step-and-fire reads to Edelman. Baltimore's pass rush must deliver in this matchup, but even with New England's offensive line decimated by injury, the group has still done well to protect the future Hall of Famer.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense
vs. New England Patriots Passing Defense

Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense

Much like its defense, the bye week came at an opportune time for the offense in the form of Brown. The first-round pick provided an immediate deep threat for Jackson, and his 15.5 yards per catch ranks 20th in the league.

"When he comes back and comes back healthy, he'll be just where he was before," receivers coach David Culley said last Thursday, via ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "I don't see any slow-down in him at all."

Brown gives Baltimore the ability to hit all three levels passing, with tight end Mark Andrews leading the team with 36 catches for 449 yards. Willie Snead, who signed a $6 million extension during the bye week, and rookie Miles Boykin round out the receiving corps.

Boykin will likely most be affected with Brown's return in terms of playing time, and he had four catches for 83 yards in the last two games.

New England Patriots Passing Defense

There is a symbiotic relationship throughout New England's three levels of defense that begins with the linebacking trio. That versatility takes on many forms, from dropping into disguised zone coverages to the zero blitzes that create numerical pass-rushing mismatches.

And then there is Stephon Gilmore, who is capable of shutting down half the field with his coverage skills. He is much the linchpin of what takes place on the field as much as the schemes that have neutralized opponents. After all, nine different players have recorded at least one of New England's 19 interceptions.

“It became easier for me,” Gilmore told Sports Illustrated as his stature rose last season. “I am more patient, not panicking. The more and more you cover people, the more you can tell what they are going to do. Trusting it, and trusting your speed, and knowing who you are going against, because you can’t play everybody the same.”

Stats

Baltimore:

Team Passing Statistics

Passes Attempted — 221 (29th)

Passes Completed — 142 (28th)

Completion Percentage — 64.3 (17th)

Gross Passing Yards — 1,705 (23rd)

Net Passing Yards – 1,615 (21st)

Net Passing Yards Per Game — 230.7 (18th)

Average Gain Per Pass Play — 6.79 (15th)

Yards Per Attempt — 7.71 (13th)

Yards Per Completion — 12.01 (12th)

Passing TDs — 12 (T-14th)

Interceptions — 5 (T-16th most)

Times Sacked — 17 (T-18th most)

Passer Rating — 96.4 (14th)

Individual Passing

Lamar Jackson — 136 completions/215 attempts/63.3 completion percentage/1,650 yards/11 TDs/5 INT/94.1 passer rating

Robert Griffin III -- 6/6/100.0/55/1/0/144.4

Individual Receiving

Mark Andrews -- 36 receptions/449 yards/12.5 yards per catch/3 TDs

Marquise Brown -- 21/326/15.5/3

Willie Snead IV -- 15/223/14.9/2

Hayden Hurst -- 14/141/10.1/1

Nick Boyle -- 12/145/12.1/0

Mark Ingram II -- 12/96/8.0/0

Seth Roberts -- 10/115/11.5/0

Miles Boykin -- 9/131/14.6/2

Gus Edwards -- 4/29/7.3/0

Chris Moore -- 3/21/7.0/0

Justice Hill -- 3/19/6.3/0

Patrick Ricard -- 3/10/3.3/1

New England:

Team Passing Defense Statistics (Opponent Offensive Rank)

Opponents’ Passes Attempted — 273 (14th)

Opponents’ Passes Completed — 143 (30th)

Opponents’ Completing Percentage — 52.4 (32nd)

Opponents’ Gross Passing Yards — 1,403 (31st)

Opponents’ Net Passing Yards — 1,190 (31st)

Opponents’ Net Passing Yards Per Game — 148.8 (31st)

Opponents’ Yards Per Attempt — 5.14 (32nd)

Opponents’ Yards Per Completion — 9.81 (32nd)

Opponents’ Average Gain Per Pass Play — 3.91 (32nd)

Opponents’ TD passes — 2 (32nd)

Interceptions — 19 (1st)

Sacks — 31 (1st)

Opponents’ Passer Rating — 40.6 (32nd)

Individual Defense Sacks and Quarterback Hurries

Jamie Collins Sr. -- 6.0 sacks/48.5 yards/8 QBH

Kyle Van Noy -- 4.5 sacks/29.5/8

Adam Butler -- 4.5/29.5/6

Chase Winovich -- 4.5/36.5/6

John Simon -- 3.0/18.0/4

Michael Bennett -- 2.5/22.5/4

Dont'a Hightower -- 2.0/13.5/5

Danny Shelton -- 2.0/14.0/4

Deatrich Wise Jr. -- 1.0/0.0/6

Interceptions and Passes Broken Up

Devin McCourty -- 5 INTs/6 PBU

Jamie Collins Sr. -- 3/4

Stephon Gilmore -- 3/10

Duron Harmon -- 2/4

J.C. Jackson -- 2/3

Jason McCourty -- 1/4

John Simon -- 1/4

Lawrence Guy -- 1/1

Terrence Brooks -- 1/1

Jonathan Jones -- 0/5

Who has the Edge?

Opposing teams are 23 for 51 for 298 yards throwing at Gilmore this season, and the All-Pro has broken up 10 passes in addition to his three interceptions. There are very few weak links in coverage -- J.C. Jackson has been even better in terms of numbers with opponents only 6 for 23 for 54 yards.

The challenge for the Ravens is going to be finding passing windows for Jackson to throw into as opposed to lanes, because the feeling is they will use his mobility to create half-rollouts that challenge how New England's defense shuts down or floods a portion of the field.

While New England leads the league in sacks, it would not be surprising to see them not accrue a high amount and drop more players into coverage lanes and rely on their front four to generate the pass rush.

Advantage: New England Patriots

Intangibles

New England Patriots

The Patriots are onto their third kicker of the season, signing veteran Nick Folk after cutting Mike Nugent during the week. Nugent, who had a 29-yard field goal blocked and also missed a 34-yarder versus Cleveland, was just 5 for 8 on field goal attempts.

Folk has not played since a four-game stint with Tampa Bay in 2017 but is familiar to Belichick from his playing days with the New York Jets, where he kicked from 2010-16. Folk played for Arizona of the defunct AAF this season and has made 80.3 percent of his career field goal attempts.

Belichick fully grasps this will be his team's toughest challenge to date and despite the usual share the bare minimum with the media, one gets the sense he is more than happy to rise to the challenge.

Baltimore Ravens

The return of Brown, Onwuasor, and potentially Smith are all potential points to rally around for the Ravens, and Harbaugh's job will be to keep Jackson level-headed during this game.

Baltimore's special teams continue to be among the league's best. Jason Tucker has yet to miss any of his 36 kicks, and of the 16 field goals he has attempted, six of them have been from 40 or longer. Sam Koch has put 10 of his 18 punts inside the opponents' 20 while conceding just 34 return yards.

Who has the Edge?

Belichick continues to be the be-all, end-all, but Harbaugh is acutely attuned to his team -- evidenced by his decision to go for it on fourth down versus Seattle. The real X-factor for this game is Folk given Turner is practically automatic inside 50 yards for Baltimore.

How he practices during the week will go into Belichick's fourth-down decision-making in plus territory, and it has the potential to have a ripple effect throughout the New England offense and the game.

Advantage: Push

Final Outlook

The pick remains the Patriots, though it will more than likely come down to a one-possession game. The high-side hook on the field goal prevents an aggressive play, but there is more confidence in Belichick creating a defense that flummoxes Baltimore's offense than Jackson consistently moving the ball against New England's defense.

The expectation is for Sanu to have a bigger impact on the game while the Patriots retain their core identity offensively of working short to medium-range routes with Edelman and Dorsett. Every week the Patriots hope Michel will have his breakout game, but that does not seem likely in this contest given Baltimore's run defense.

Latest Updates, Injury Reports, and Line Movements

The Patriots remain the play, especially with the line getting nudged down to a flat field goal. There is a certain amount of skepticism about Jackson being able to consistently move the Ravens offensively considering he has never seen a Belichick-coached defense.

A second reason to take New England, though, is the offense. While Michel will have to earn his yards on the ground, Brady can take a page out of the Los Angeles Chargers' playbook from last season's divisional round playoff game in just taking what the Ravens defense gives. And few quarterbacks are as adept at taking those free yards as Brady.

Prediction: Patriots -3 (-110)

Second Opinion on this pick from StatSalt.com

Additional Insiders' Best Bets

Full-game Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

The hook has flipped to the low side of a TD+FG total from earlier this week when the line was 45.5. This is a toss-up pick, with one of the key swing factors being the expectation the Patriots will not score a defensive touchdown in this game given the quality of the Ravens offense.

Per Covers.com, the under is 5-1 in New England's last six games versus AFC opponents and also 24-9 in its last 33 on the road.

The under is 8-3 for the Ravens in their last 11 games coming out of the bye week and 4-1 in Baltimore's last five games as a home underdog according to DonBest.com.

Prediction: UNDER 44.5 points (-110)

Full-game Prop Bet

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Simply put, three touchdowns for the Ravens feels like a bridge too far, especially since the Patriots offense will likely not contribute any points directly via pick-six or fumble. New England's run defense has been vulnerable at times, but there is confidence in Belichick's game-plan to help limit those shortcomings.

The best teaser of the bunch is to push the over/under total out to 51 while grabbing the rare opportunity of grabbing the Patriots and getting 3.5 points.

Yardage props this space likes:

Mohamed Sanu OVER 36.5 yards (-114)

A full week of practice and film session should benefit Sanu with regards to being on a better wavelength with Brady compared to his debut last week. Despite arriving midweek, Brady still threw his way five times -- the hedge is that number ticks maybe one or two higher and Sanu catches three or four passes to clear this number.

Prediction: Ravens UNDER 20.5 points (-115)

Half-time Side Bet

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A confidence pick in the Patriots given they have yet to trail at halftime this season while the Ravens have split their last five (2-2-1). New England also leads the NFL in first-half point differential at plus-109 as well as holding opponents to three points in the final two minutes of the first half.

Prediction: Patriots -2.5 (-105)

Half-time Total Bet

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This is more about the point total than thinking the teams will engage in a shootout, since a 13-10 score can carry this number. Both teams rank in the top five in first-half scoring, with the Patriots second (140) and the Ravens fifth (119). The Ravens defense has been better of late, but the Patriots offense has also been solid all season.

Prediction: OVER 22 points (-110)

Half-time Prop Bet

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A confidence pick in the Patriots being ahead after one quarter, though it will be a challenge given Belichick's preference to defer the opening kickoff in winning the toss and an effective Ravens team that is tied for third in first-quarter scoring (61) and differential (plus-37).

New England leads in both categories with 87 and plus-80, respectively, and outscored opponents 43-7 on the road in the first quarter.

Prediction: Patriots -0.5 1st quarter (+120)
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Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is based in Chicago. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiner, he worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Follow Chris daily right here at W&W and on Twitter at @AlTruda73. You won’t be disappointed.