NFL Week 3 odds: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
It’s a rematch of an epic AFC Championship Game from last season as Baltimore looks for a little revenge and its first-ever regular season win over New England in the Week 3 Sunday night game.
January in Foxboro, New England won 23-20 but was mostly outplayed by the Ravens. Baltimore receiver Lee Evans dropped the potential winning touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with under a minute left and then kicker Billy Cundiff shanked a 32-yard field goal that would have sent the game into overtime. Both Evans and Cundiff are now former Ravens.
Both clubs enter off tough Week 2 losses. The Pats were stunned 20-18 at home by Arizona in the biggest shocker of the season thus far. It was Tom Brady’s first-ever home opener loss and just his second regular-season home loss in the past 37 games. New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski, the most accurate kicker in team history, missed a 42-yard field goal with one second remaining that would have won it. Brady finished with 316 yards, one touchdown and an interception on 28- of-46 passing. He passed Johnny Unitas (40,239) and moved into 13th place on the NFL’s all-time passing list with 40,531 yards.
The loss was costly as New England lost star tight end Aaron Hernandez, part of the NFL’s top duo at that position with Rob Gronkowski, for up to a month with an injury. The team signed Kellen Winslow this week.
The Ravens lost 24-23 at Philadelphia on Sunday on a Michael Vick 1-yard TD plunge with just under two minutes left. Flacco’s pass on 4th-and-1 with 54 seconds to play sailed out of bounds as he was trying to drive the team into field goal range. Flacco threw for 232 yards and a touchdown after completing 22-of-42 passes. Ray Rice carried the ball 16 times for 99 yards and Jacoby Jones caught a 21-yard touchdown pass for the Ravens. Justin Tucker, who beat out Cundiff in camp, hit three field goals, including a pair of 50-plus yard kicks for Baltimore.
The Pats will face a complex defensive scheme that has always given them problems. But with former Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees pulling the strings, these aren’t the same Ravens, ranking toward the bottom of the league in total defense.
The Ravens’ no-huddle offense will supremely test a new-look Patriots secondary that has more than impressed thus far. The Patriots also are much improved defensively (31st in the league 2011, second thus far) especially against the run, yielding just 62 yards per contest. The Ravens are best when they have a balanced offensive game plan, getting their ground game going and using a passing attack that exploits all levels of the field. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will need to be creative in order to keep New England’s defense guessing, which will include a good dose of Rice between the tackles and distributing the ball through the air to all available targets.
The Ravens haven’t dropped back-to-back games since a three-game skid in 2009, winning 13 straight following a loss. New England hasn’t been 1-2 since 2001.
WAGERWEB.COM ODDS: Ravens -3 (49.5)
PATRIOTS NOTES: Club has 7-1 all-time record vs. Ravens (incl. postseason) … Bill Belichick (193) needs win to surpass Chuck Knox (193) for 8th most among head coaches in NFL history … QB Tom Brady (40,531) needs 21 passing yards to surpass HOFer Joe Montana (40,551) for 12th-most passing yards in NFL history. Has thrown TD pass in 34 consecutive games … RB Stevan Ridley is averaging 123.5 scrimmage yards per game this season (196 rush, 51 rec.) … WR Wes Welker (562) surpassed Troy Brown (557) last week for most catches in club history. In last game vs. Ravens (w/ Den. on 10/10/10), WR Brandon Lloyd had 5 catches for 135 yards (27 avg.) with 2 TD catches. Lloyd (4,913) needs 87 rec. yards to reach 5,000 career … TE Rob Gronkowski has 19 TD catches in past 18 games. Since entering NFL in ’10, Gronkowski leads league in TD catches (29) … LB Rob Ninkovich posted 1st sack of season last week.
RAVENS NOTES: Club aims for 12th consecutive win at home … In past 2 vs. NE (incl. postseason), QB Joe Flacco has 4 TDs vs. 1 INT & 107.2 passer rating. Ravens are 24-2 (.923) when he has 100+ rating. For career, Flacco has 28-5 (.848) record at home … In 4 career games vs. Patriots (incl. postseason), RB Ray Rice averages 104.3 rush yards per game (417 total). Since ’09, Rice leads NFL with 6,130 scrimmage yards … WR Torrey Smith (949 yards) needs 51 rec. yards to reach 1,000 career. WR Anquan Boldin had 6 catches for 101 yards (16.8 avg.) in AFC Championship Game … Incl. playoffs, Ravens have 7 INTs in last 3 vs. NE … S Ed Reed aims for 3rd consecutive game with INT. Since ’02, has NFL-best 59 INTs … S Bernard Pollard had sack & INT last week … DT Haloti Ngata tied career-high with 2 sacks against Patriots on 10/17/10.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Patriots are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a ATS loss. Patriots are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 vs. AFC. Ravens are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in September. Ravens are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Over is 8-1 in Ravens last 9 games following a S.U. loss. Patriots are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Underdog is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.