The 10-6 Baltimore Ravens beat the 11-5 Pittsburgh Steelers this past Saturday the 3rd of January, 2015. The final score of the game was Ravens 30, Steelers 17. Baltimore now moves on to play in the Divisional playoffs on the 10th of January, 2015! Let's take a closer look at the Ravens' next matchup.
The Baltimore Ravens will be playing the New England Patriots on Saturday the 10th of January 2015 in the AFC divisional-round playoff game, and the game will be played at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. with kickoff at 4:35 PM ET and on NBC TV. The early Vegas odds have the Patriots the favorites at – 7 ½ (EV) with O/U at 49 and ML -340, with the comeback on the Ravens at +7 ½ (-120) and +280 ML.
In this AFC divisional matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots there are three important and valued things to know about this game and the teams.
- Both of the Ravens and the Patriots have very notable playoff history. In the AFC Championship Games in the 2011 and 2012 seasons the Baltimore Ravens visited the host New England Patriots. In the 2011 playoff game the Patriots overcame the Ravens to win the playoff game 23-20. The Ravens were not to be outdone, as they got revenge in the 2012 season with a 28-13 win over New England. Also, back in a wild-card round game in the season of 2009, the Ravens beat the Patriots as they had a vigorous win over New England 33-19 in that playoff round. This will be Baltimore’s fourth trip to Massachusetts to play the Patriots since 2009. They media claims that to be victorious at Gillette stadium is one of the hardest venues in the NFL, for an opponent to overcome and beat the Patriots. Take into consideration that the Patriots record is 10-3 in home game playoffs dating back to 2002. However, the Ravens have been a team that has proven that they are capable, as they have won in the past. The Patriots and the Ravens did not play each other in this past 2014 NFL regular season, and their last game taking place on the 22 of December 2013 in which the Patriots won the game 41-7.
- The Ravens are a very tough team to run against, and in this game they are returning star defensive tackle Ngata who was suspended for four games. His return just strengthens the Ravens defensive front against the running games of the opponents. They only allowed opponents to 88.3 yards rushing this past season, and that was 4th fewest allowed in the NFL. They have also not allowed an opposing team to have RB gain 100 yards in their last 27 games, and that is the longest active NFL streak. Ironically, the Ravens defensive coordinator Pees was the defensive coordinator for the Patriots from 2006-2009. His defensive unit, entered the wild-card round against the Steelers, with 49 sacks and that is the second highest number of sacks in the Ravens team history.
- Scouts have to consider the Ravens zone-blocking scheme and the fact that they have a capable and strong armed QB in Flacco. Baltimore with Coach Kubiak, their 1st year offensive coordinator likes the to use the zone-blocking scheme with his running back, which the Patriots have experienced before, from when they played the Houston teams in 2006-2013, that Kubiak coached. The main goal of the zone-blocking is to take out defenders on the back side of the play. With the scheme the Ravens RB Forsett has had a great year in 2014 as the lead running back had 235 carries for 1,266 yards and an average of 5.4 yards for each carry. In addition the Patriots defense can’t overlook the cool and under pressure play of QB Flacco with his strong arm, and ability to strike at all levels of the game field.