Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs. NE

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: BAL 13, NE 27 (Line: NE by 10, O/U = 45.5)

UPDATE: Danny Amendola remains out with his high ankle sprain and Martellus Bennett is limited in practices but expected to continue to play despite not being 100%.

The 7-5 Ravens are on a two game winning streak and are tied with the Steelers for the lead in the AFC North but are only 2-3 on the road. The 10-2 Patriots are tied with the Raiders for the best record in the AFC and are 4-2 at home.

Baltimore Ravens

1 BUF 13-7 10 CLE 28-7
2 @CLE 25-20 11 @DAL 17-27
3 @JAC 19-17 12 CIN 19-14
4 OAK 27-28 13 MIA 38-6
5 WAS 10-16 14 @NE ---
6 @NYG 23-27 15 PHI ---
7 @NYJ 16-24 16 @PIT ---
8 BYE --- 17 @CIN ---
9 PIT 21-14      
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 270,1
RB Kenneth Dixon 30 1-10
RB Terrance West 40 3-20
WR Jeremy Maclin 4-40
WR Breshad Perriman 2-40
WR Mike Wallace 5-60
PK Justin Tucker 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Ravens have won four of their last five games but all were at home and they lost each of their last three road games. The Dolphins folded up last week and allowed the Ravens to have their biggest win to date. The defense has been the main reason for the winning streak and only the Cowboys have scored more than 14 points on the Ravens since Week 7. That's going to be very hard to sustain over the final weeks of the season. The easy games are all over now.

QUARTERBACK : Joe Flacco was a surprise last week as the top fantasy quarterback. He threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns despite only totaling 11 touchdowns over his first 11 games. Over the most recent four road venues, Flacco has only thrown for a total of one touchdown. Last week was an aberration that won't likely happen again this year.

RUNNING BACK : Terrance West even had a big game in the win over the Dolphins when he scored both as a runner and as a receiver but he only totaled 68 yards and that's been roughly his ceiling in most weeks. West is not reliable for more than 50 yards in any game and went scoreless in twice as many games as ones with a touchdown. Kenneth Dixon is rushing for around 40 to 50 yards per week or just enough to ensure that West has only minimal fantasy value.

WIDE RECEIVER : The freakishly good passing stats from last week did not really involve the wideouts. Breshad Perriman did catch a score for his third time this year but so far has never had more than three catches in any game. Kamar Aiken continued his season long stretch of mediocre performances and Mike Wallace was held to only 59 yards on six catches. Wallace has been limited to around 60 yards and no scores in each of the last four games. Steve Smith also caught six passes but only gained 53 yards. Smith has been the only Raven with touchdown catches since Week 10 other than Perriman who manages only minor yardage each week and only when at home.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value. At least usually. After an entire season with around 30 yards and no score every week, Dennis Pitta suddenly showed up with nine catches for 90 yards and two scores. It was exactly the sum of his three previous games combined and his first scores of the year. Both Darren Waller (1-15) and Nick Boyle (2-24) were active as well. In most weeks, it is just Pitta and his 30 yards and no scores.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Patriots have held all but Russell Wilson to only one touchdown pass over the last five visitors to New England. If Flacco can throw even one touchdown, it will match his previous best game on the road. There is the hope that the game gets out of hand and Flacco might get some late game slop which is possible but not reliable.

It is also a bad sign that the Patriots have allowed only one rushing touchdown while at home and no runner was better than 80 yards. Terrance West will do well enough to reach 50 yards here. There are no Ravens with fantasy appeal this week aside from Wallace and Smith likely netting their usual 50 yards or so.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 21 18 14 12 3 10
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 14 10 8 13 4 3

New England Patriots

1 @ARI 23-21 10 SEA 24-31
2 MIA 31-24 11 @SF 30-17
3 HOU 27-0 12 @NYJ 22-17
4 BUF 0-16 13 LA 26-10
5 @CLE 33-13 14 BAL ---
6 CIN 35-17 15 @DEN ---
7 @PIT 27-16 16 NYJ ---
8 @BUF 41-25 17 @MIA ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 280,2
RB Rex Burkhead 50 2-20
RB Mike Gillislee 30 1-10
RB Dion Lewis 20 4-30
RB James White 4-30
WR Brandin Cooks 7-70
WR Julian Edelman 8-80,1
WR Chris Hogan 4-50
WR Malcolm Mitchell 6-80,1
TE Dwayne Allen 4-50,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Pats are now three games past the fiasco against the Seahawks and at 10-2 are sure to end up with a bye and most likely the #1 seed. That's a tremendous advantage given the likelihood that their January opponents will be flying in from the West Coast and not accustomed to the weather. The Pats remain the top of the AFC and even the trip to Denver in Week 15 doesn't look that interesting this year.

QUARTERBACK : Unfortunately, Tom Brady appeared to actually play down to the level of his opponent last week when he only managed 269 yards and one score against the visiting Rams who were sporting a rookie quarterback. Brady has been slightly less productive than he was in the initial month of playing but still remains a lock for 250+ yards and a couple of scores each week.

RUNNING BACK : LeGarrette Blount had a predictably good game last week when he ran for 88 yards and a score on the Rams and he's scored in all but one home game this year. Blount doesn't offer any receptions but usually ends up with 15 to 20 carries every week. Unfortunately both Dion Lewis and James White mixes in which only serves to water down each other's impact. Lewis has been limited to around four catches and 50 total yards in his three starts while White does little as a rusher but still gets four to six catches in every game. Neither are a strong fantasy play.

WIDE RECEIVER : Danny Amendola will miss the rest of the season with a high ankle sprain but the rookie Malcolm Mitchell has really stepped up for the last three weeks while Gronkowski was out. Mitchell scored three times over the first two weeks and then ended with a season best eight catches for 82 yards last week. Julian Edelman has also seen the same spike in production with exactly eight catches in each game including 101 yards just last Sunday versus the Rams. Chris Hogan score don his four catches for 23 yards but is no longer a reliable factor. The passing game has evolved into being all about Edelman and Mitchell.

TIGHT END : Martellus Bennett has struggled with ankle and shoulder problems and has not been effective in any game since Week 5 other than the Seahawks tilt. Bennett only totaled six catches for 40 yards over the three games that Rob Gronkowski has missed. The Pats are moving away from using the tight end to multiple receiver sets.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens have been great against the pass while at home against weak passing teams. But on the road, they have allowed four teams to pass for multiple touchdowns and higher yardage including Dak Prescott who threw for 301 yards and three scores in their most recent road venue. Brady is fine to start here in a home game and given that the Ravens are great against the run, most of the scoring will need to happen through the air.

Blount is still a consideration but is less likely to have a big game here. The Ravens have allowed two rushing scores to backs on the road but even Ezekiel Elliott only ran for 97 yards and no scores on them.

The Ravens are great against tight ends and the Pats just don't look that way much anymore. Both Edelman and Mitchell are strong starts there though less likely to have a really big game. They are easily the most likely to score.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 7 6 22 3 13 23
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 10 3 18 6 1 13

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