Tom Brady & New England Patriots (-2.5) To Face Tough Opponent In Baltimore Ravens

October 17th, 2010 – by Alex

In a battle of perennial Super Bowl contenders, the New England Patriots (3-1) and the Baltimore Ravens (4-1) square off on Sunday in New England. The game is schedule for a 1pm EST kickoff and coverage can be seen on CBS as well as DirecTV channel 706.

Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady is looking like he’s at the top of his game this season as he now appears to be fully recovered from his knee surgery. Thus far, he’s thrown for 911 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions this year. The line has more-or-less been able to protect him, allowing only five sacks for the season.

The running attack from the Patriots has been unpredictable, at best. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was brought in to fill in for injured back, Fred Taylor. While Green-Ellis has been doing as well as can be expected, the Patriots are clearly forced to focus more on the aerial assault than they otherwise would have. Not making things any easier was the trade of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings. New England tried to offset the move by bringing in Deion Branch from Seattle, however, this isn’t the same Branch from five years ago. At the moment Wes Welker has been the most constant receiver on the roster leading the team with 26 catches and three touchdowns.

The special teams, oddly enough, has also been key to Patriots victories, particularly in last week’s game against the Miami Dolphins. Brandon Tate took a kickoff return all the way for a touchdown and Patrick Chung blocked a punt that ended up changing the momentum swing of the match-up. Defensively, the Patriots have watched Jerrod Mayo lead the team with 43 total tackles for the season and nearly 10 per game. Chung and Rob Ninkovich both have two interceptions to lead the team.

In order to be successful against the Ravens, the Patriots have to keep finding ways to score. Their offense is averaging 32.8 points per game thus far and 344.2 yards. Brady will have to stay out of the clutches of the powerful Ravens defense and guide his group to a strong offensive game. Meanwhile, the Patriots defense should have no problems sustaining their 24 point, 384.5 yards per game allowed defensive average against a very on-and-off Ravens offense.

Meanwhile, on the other end the Ravens will come into this game hoping to further their case for “best team in the league.” Quarterback, Joe Flacco, while wildly inconsistent is quietly shaping into one of the better young quarterbacks in the league. Nevertheless, as mentioned, consistency is a problem as evidenced by the fact that he’s thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this season. Running back, Ray Rice is doing his part with 363 yards on the ground and Willis McGahee has chipped in with three touchdowns. On the receiving end, Anquan Boldin has become Flacco’s go-to receiver racking up 28 catches and three touchdowns.

Defensively, this is still Ray Lewis’ group and he’s shown it leading the team with 25 tackles for the year. Terrell Suggs has also done his part with three sacks on the year. Interestingly enough, this unit is doing all this damage and allowing a mere 14.4 points and 257.8 yards per game all without the injured Ed Reed.

In order to beat the Patriots, the defense will really have to get after Brady. Without Moss there, the Patriots quarterback will likely be dropping it off to Welker a lot so look for Lewis to level him at some point and try to knock him out of the game or at least make him a little weary. On the offensive side, Flacco must focus on not throwing as many interceptions and simply dropping the ball off to his more than capable running backs.

NFL Game Lines: In large part due to the home field advantage the Patriots are a 2.5 point favorite over the visiting Baltimore Ravens. You read that right, the Ravens are underdogs in the week 6 NFL betting odds. According to the NFL Against The Spread Standings, the Patriots enter this contest with a 2-2 record ATS while the Ravens enter with a 3-2 record ATS.

NFL Betting Trends: The Patriots are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games following a win and 1-5 ATS in their last six home games against a team with a winning record. Meanwhile, the Ravens are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog of up to three points and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record.

See more NFL Betting Trends

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