Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs NE

Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs NE


Game Predictions & Player Projections - BAL vs NE


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Prediction: BAL 16, NE 27 (Line: NE by 7)

UPDATE: Jonas Gray was made a healthy scratch.

Last week the Ravens were the traditional “one road team wins” despite having lost handily in Pittsburgh earlier in the year. This is the second road game in the playoffs for the Ravens who were only 4-4 away from home in the regular season. And this is against a non-divisional opponent who is 7-1 at home only because they let the Bills have the meaningless season finale. The Pats are the #1 seed in the AFC and this would be a major upset if the Ravens could pull it off. The weather is expected to be cold – – 21 degrees at kickoff but clear skies and no real wind. Both teams should be comfortable in the cold.

Baltimore Ravens

1 CIN 16-23 10 TEN 21-7
2 PIT 26-6 11 BYE —–
3 @CLE 23-21 12 @NO 34-27
4 CAR 38-10 13 SD 33-34
5 @IND 13-20 14 @MIA 28-13
6 @TB 48-17 15 JAC 20-12
7 ATL 29-7 16 @HOU 13-25
8 @CIN 24-27 17 CLE 20-10
9 @PIT 23-43  
News | Statistics | Roster
BAL @ NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Joe Flacco 250,1
RB Bernard Pierce 10
RB Justin Forsett 40 4-20
TE Owen Daniels 5-50
WR Jacoby Jones 2-20
WR Steve Smith 5-40
WR Torrey Smith 5-80,1
PK Justin Tucker 3 FG 1 XP

The Ravens were fortunate to miss facing Le’Veon Bell last week but that hardly explains the entire 30-17 beat down of the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Like past years, the defense showed up when it had to and the offense was as good as it needed to be. The Ravens are healthy but the Patriots at home will feature one of the better defenses that the Ravens have faced all year.

QUARTERBACK : Joe Flacco has thrown for at least one score in all but two games his year – both on the road and have only thrown for bigger yards when facing weak secondaries which happened in most weeks. To his credit, Flacco doesn’t make many mistakes with only four interceptions over the last eight games but all were in away games.

RUNNING BACK : While the Ravens had some success running Justin Forsett this year, the reality is that almost all his scores and bigger yard efforts went against very weak defenses and his last two road efforts netted only 32 and 43 total yards respectively. He still has only a minor role as a receiver and is only a safe bet when the Ravens are at home or facing a seriously weak defense. Bernard Pierce is a nonfactor but his one carry last week was for a touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVER : Steve Smith started the year out well and cooled around mid-season. But he turned in 90 yards in the season finale versus the Browns and had 101 yards in Pittsburgh last week though he’s only scored once in the last six weeks. Torrey Smith has been held to lower yardage but scored in each of the last three weeks and totals a team-high 12 touchdowns this year. Smith has rarely been over 70 yards in any game and has never topped 100 yards this year. Only the two Smiths have mattered this year and Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown both never scored.

TIGHT END : Owen Daniels only scored once in the last nine weeks and has tended to have lower efforts on the road. But he did manage 70 yards on four catches last week for his best yardage of the season. He usually remains under 50 yards in most weeks.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The problem here is that the Pats at home are great against the run and the Ravens are weak away from home. Unlike last week, the Pats have a shutdown corner in Darrelle Revis who matches on Steve Smith. That will force more to Owen Daniels and Torrey Smith as well as the other wideouts. But Forsett has only averaged less than three receptions per week. Daniels and Torrey Smith are the strongest plays here but the outlook is not nearly as good as last week against the weak Steelers secondary.

Gaining Fantasy Points BAL 17 5 14 16 11 14
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 12 16 3 25 19 3

New England Patriots

1 @MIA 20-33 10 BYE —–
2 @MIN 30-7 11 @IND 42-20
3 OAK 16-9 12 DET 34-9
4 @KC 14-41 13 @GB 21-26
5 CIN 43-17 14 @SD 23-14
6 @BUF 37-22 15 MIA 41-13
7 NYJ 27-25 16 @NYJ 17-16
8 CHI 51-23 17 BUF 9-17
9 DEN 43-21  
News | Statistics | Roster
NE vs BAL Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 330,3
RB LeGarrette Blount 40
RB Shane Vereen 20 2-20
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-80,1
WR Brandon LaFell 7-80,1
WR Danny Amendola 4-30
WR Julian Edelman 8-110,1
PK S. Gronkowski 2 FG 3 XP

Hard to recall week four when the Pats were only 2-2 and people started to write their obituary. Yet again the Patriots have roared back and taken the #1 seed to ensure that the AFC has to go through Boston to get to the Super Bowl. The Patriots have been getting healthier and the Rob Gronkowski of old is back. It seems like destiny that Manning and Brady face off in the Championship game only this time it is in Boston.

QUARTERBACK : Tom Brady throw a score in every game this year until the meaningless finale but he only managed one or two scores in 11 games including the final six weeks. His yardage has been high in home games though and his best efforts did come while at home. He should be a lock for two passing scores and higher yardage this week.

RUNNING BACK : The rushing offense now runs through a committee of three players. Jonas Gray and LeGarrette Blount take care of the rushing duties. Shane Vereen plays a third down role but as Gronkowski increased his playing time and production this year, it came at the expense of Vereen. While both Gray and Blount enjoyed one freakishly good game, both came when the other player sat the game out. This week none of these runners generate much optimism against a great rushing defense.

WIDE RECEIVER : Danny Amendola has been little used and only turned in one game with more than 45 yards and scored just once all year. Brandon LaFell is the complement to Julian Edelman. LaFell is solid with around 60 yards in most games and scored seven times this season. Edelman has been the primary wideout though he has not played since week 15 when he was concussed versus the Dolphins. Edelman has been a bigger factor later in the year and his last four games contained at least seven catches in each and saw him score in the last two games that he played.

TIGHT END : Rob Gronkowski finished the year as the top fantasy tight end and it wasn’t even close. He ended with 12 touchdowns and turned in 70 to 100 yards in the final ten games other than the finale when he still scored. Gronkowski is the focal point of the passing game again though Edelman is close behind. Tim Wright went through a five game streak in mid-season when he would score but he’s rarely had more than one catch per game and is unreliable in fantasy terms.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Ravens are the best defense against running backs which bodes poorly for a three-headed running back committee. That leaves all three worthy of a fantasy bench. But they are weak against the pass and the worst against wide receivers. Expect a nice effort here by Brady that should benefit Gronkowski, Edelman and LaFell.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 9 13 18 1 1 10
Preventing Fantasy Points BAL 20 1 32 12 21 1

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