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It's pretty obvious that when you poll a couple Patriots bloggers, they are probably going to pick their team to win. So, instead we look at where we do differ- the final score.

Here's a roundup of some of our writers predictions for the AFC Divisional round match up with the Baltimore Ravens.

Conor Frederick (@C_Frederick1016):


Patriots by 14

The Patriots had their struggles against the Buffalo Bills to close out the regular season, which would give Baltimore reason to hope, right? Well, that was essesntially a preseason game where Tom Brady only played half the game and many of their key parts resting on the bench. And yes, the Ravens defesinve front worries me, especially since the Pats offensive line struggled towards the end of the season, but the playoffs are an entirely different animal and I think the o-line will step up in a big way. And that means trouble for the Ravens, since the Patriots will have a healthy Rob Gronkowski, which they didn't have in the past against Baltimore. Tom Brady will be in rhythm and the offense will score early and often.

Defensively, the 2 big off-season signings, Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis, will pay huge dividends with a couple big interceptions off Joe Flacco, as well as shutting down the 2 Smith's. The Ravens will score a late touchdown in the 4th, but the game will be over by that point.

Patriots 35-21

Andrew Sheehan (@_AndrewSheehan):


Patriots by 14

Much of the Patriots offensive success will be contingent on the play of the offensive line. Two big match ups will take place on the edge as Nate Solder takes on Terrell Suggs who accounted for 12 sacks this season. On the opposite side, Sebastian Vollmer will be matched up against Elvis Dumervil who had another 17 sacks. If the offensive line can mitigate their combined pass rush and force the Ravens into blitzing, Brady will be able to pick the Ravens defense apart. Brady will turn around his previous poor performances against the Ravens and remind the world why he is still the best quarterback in the league while throwing for 2 touchdowns and 270 yards.

LeGarrette Blount will be an important piece to keeping the Ravens off balance as well as the Patriots will need a semblance of a running game. I expect him to play a big part and run for close to 100 yards and a touchdown on the day. He will help the offense will get off the schnide today and look more like they did mid season when they were blowing teams out.

The Patriots defensive secondary will have their hands full. Owen Daniels and Steve Smith are newcomers to the Pats/Ravens rivalry and will offer match up problems. Smith will draw coverage from Darrell Revis for most of the game while the Patriots are in man coverage. Daniels gave the Pats issues when he played for the Texans and Joe Flacco will look for him often if Browner and Revis have his receivers blanketed.

The Patriots will continue their streak of not allowing a touchdown after halftime (dating back to the Colts game) and will only allow 3 points after the break.

Patriots 31 Ravens 17


Ben Dawes (@PatriotsFan1057):


Patriots by 20

Many people are expecting for this to be a close game but I beg to differ. The Ravens might have been able to squeak by a Bell-less Steeler team but it will be a different story in Foxboro.

Look for the defense to rule the day shutting down both Smiths. There is a chance that the officials could be over-aggressive in their pass interference calls which may make this a much closer match but I think the refs will let them play. Flacco will be on his back-O all day long because of coverage sacks and late in the game when they are down he will have to force the ball leading to multiple turnovers.

The Ravens defense will look sharp in the first half of the game but with the Ravens offense struggling I see them getting tired in the cold New England weather. I believe Brady will hit Gronkowski and Wright early and often and finish the game with Blount force trauma in the second half. I don't believe Blount will reach the century mark for rushing yards but he will be close with 80. Gronk and Wright will each have a score.

The only touchdown the Ravens score on will be because of a huge special teams play by Jacoby Jones, taking it all the way to the Patriots red zone setting up an easy score for Forsett.

Ravens 10 Patriots 30


Jesse Gaunce (@JesseGaunce):


Patriots by 10

I'm not buying into the history factor with these two teams, but I still believe this is the toughest match up for the Patriots in this round. I see it being close all the way through, with the teams trading scores throughout the first half. Someone on defense is going to have to make a play to turn the tables, and I see that being Devin McCourty.

I think the offensive line can and will give Tom Brady more protection than he's gotten in recent weeks, as they know full well what they're up against. That should leave Brady time to exploit a below average Ravens secondary. I would expect to see Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman heavily involved.

Patriots 30, Ravens 20

Paul Murphy (@_prmurphy):


Patriots by 5

All that money spent on Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner has paid dividends. Baltimore WR Steve Smith is held to two catches for 24 yards. Smith spent all game in motion, but the Pats cornerbacks never chased.

Joe Flacco had his usual solid game, but the wind did affect his long throws. The Ravens were unable to stretch the New England defense. Flacco finished 22 for 34 passing with 242 yards, but 62 yards were in the meaningless final drive.

The Patriots defense held RB Justin Forsett to 38 yards rushing on 12 carries. New England kept the Baltimore offense on the bench for 36 minutes.

The New England ground game of Blount and Gray produced 12 rushing first downs. The Pats rushed for 144 yards and two TD's. Tom Brady threw 28 times, completing 20 for 292 yards. His QB rating was finally respectable against the Ravens at 95.7.

New England 24 Baltimore 19

Adam Bogdan (@PatriotsInform):


Patriots by 25

I have sat (relatively) patiently this week, as analyst after analyst proclaimed that the Patriots would struggle this weekend due to the past history against the Ravens. Yet no one seems to remember recent history. The fact that, if they so desired, the Patriots could have had the best record in football, despite playing the best teams in the AFC, and beating almost all of them handedly, seems to escape some people. The Ravens barely getting into the playoffs thanks to the results of two other games. The Patriots with top units on offense and defense, and two weeks of rest.

On top of that, this team is the healthiest it has been since the start of the season. Gronk is fully Gronk, the line is at 100%, and the defense should be a completely healthy unit. Yet none of that is being brought up. Somehow, the team that only retained 17 of its players since the last time the Ravens beat the Patriots is somehow at an advantage here. Oh, and Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin, and Ed Reed no longer play for the Ravens. They were kinda important in these playoff victories.

Are people right to fear the Ravens pass rush? Yeah, absolutely. But do you honestly think the Patriots game plan is to have Brady take five or seven step drops to hit receivers 20+ yards downfield? I don't think so. Personally, if they want to take advantage of this defense and its poor secondary, they should put Brady in the shotgun, with short drops, and get the ball out quickly on short routes. The line won't have to block for long, and errors can be minimalized. Running the ball will also be key to keep time of possession in their favor and keep the Ravens honest with their rushes. I could see Vereen getting a lot of draws and counters to take advantage of the Ravens aggressiveness.

On defense, short of the Patriots getting penalized heavily, they have a number of favorable matchups and could embarrass this Flacco-lead offense. Revis should be able to man up against Steve Smith, and allow the other defensive backs to mix coveages as needed. Given the Ravens need to run the ball in order to succeed on offense, I envision the Patriots using heavy fronts with the likes of Wilfork, Branch, and Siliga in order to plug gaps and force the power running Forsett to go outside. Flacco will likely target Browner with regularity in hopes of drawing penalties, so the Patriots will need to account for that by allowing Browner to have over the top help from a safety.

When all is said and done, I do not expect this game to be close. Throwing history out the window, every statistic this year points to New England being a clear cut favorite. I see the Patriots being fired up right out of the gate, and the offense may take the first opportunity they get and never look back.

Patriots 38 - Ravens 13


Brian Thibideau (@B_thibs34):

Patriots by 21

To start this off, has anyone else noticed that the Patriots have a funny way of blowing teams out when games are expected to be close, and struggling when they are expected to dominate? Perfect example is their domination of Denver and Indianapolis (games they were underdogs in) and nail biters against the likes of the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders.

Everyone seems to think this game is going to be a battle, so going by the trend stated above, the Patriots should blow the Ravens out.

Well, even without that trend, I still don't believe this game will be close, reason being I don't see how the Ravens score against us. This defense is infinity times better than it was when they last met in the playoffs in 2012 (Julian Edelman also won't be thrown into a cornerback role). With Revis on Steve Smith, Browner on Torrey Smith with safety help, and with no more viable threats outside those two players, how are the Ravens going to score more than a touchdown? Expect the Patriots to get some coverage sacks. Of course, you gotta watch the run, but I think the Patriots will do a good job of limiting that.

On offense, I expect it to be business as usual. Ravens will get a sack or two, but a healthy offensive line will limit the powerful Raves defensive line. The Patriots line, when healthy, has done a good job against solid lines like Detroit and Denver. Harbaugh will do everything he can to stop Gronk, which will open up things for Edelman and LaFell, and Tim "Always Open" Wright. And let's not forget about Blount. He is the type of back who wears down defenses, so expect New England to stay committed to the run.

I really think people don't understand how high of a level this Patriots defense is playing at. They will shut down Joe Flacco and Baltimore's average offense, making Harbaugh think twice about his "Flacco is the best QB in the league" comments. They are a six seed for a reason.

Gronk, LaFell, Edelman, and Blount will each have scores. Flacco will throw 3 picks, and the refs will call this game loosely, allowing for physical play so Flacco doesn't get his PI calls.

This one will be over before the third quarter is done.

Final Score
Patriots 31-Ravens 10

Liam Cunningham (@LC_NEP):


Patriots by 20

The past few games have not been the prettiest displays by the Patriots, with a the high-flying offensive unit we saw blossom mid-season reverting to early season form with missed blocking assignments, consistent three and outs, and an overall ineptitude that has many worried.

Not me. While I would be lying if I said those struggles weren't concerning, particularly the O-Line's inconsistency in protecting Tom Brady, I believe the poor play can largely be attributed to the absence of Dan Connolly. He is the veteran anchor and leader of that line and the breakdowns in his absence have been significant. With several weeks off, a healthy, well-performing Connolly will be vital if this Patriots team is going to make a Super Bowl run.

We have heard all week about how bad of a match-up this Ravens team is for the Patriots. While I agree it will be a tougher game than if we were facing the Red Rocket or Andy Neckbeard; this Patriots team is too well-rounded and too poised to fall at home to Baltimore (again).

Brady will throw for 4 touchdowns (2 to Gronk, 1 to Lafell, 1 to Tim Wright) and Gosto will tack on 2 field goals. The defense will hold the Ravens to two touchdowns and force three turnovers. I expect the Patriots may get off to another slow start, keeping this one close in the early going, but they will hit their stride in the second quarter and pull away at the beginning of the second half.

This train will keep on rolling to an AFC Championship bout in Foxborough with Peyton.

Patriots 34-Ravens 14

Michael Weathers (@MichaelJames24):

Patriots by 10

The Ravens were able to defeat a one dimensional Pittsburgh team. Balance will be one of the keys to defeating our familiar foe from Baltimore. The other key would be the protection of Tom Brady.

Expect Tom Brady to have a field day with the glaring holes in the Ravens secondary. The presence of a healthy Gronk will be the x factor for the Patriots. Baltimore will not have an answer for a steady dose of employee number 87. New England will also need Brandon LaFell to step up in a huge way as Baltimore will look to focus on Edelman and Gronk. On the ground LeGarrette Blount needs to take care of the ball and hit the open holes as the Patriots look to tire the Ravens defense.

Defensively, the Patriots must neutralize the Smith brothers of Torrey and Steve. Revis will do his part and shut down whomever he covers. The real concern would be the often flagged Brandon Browner. If he can maintain his physical play while disrupting the receivers routes, the Ravens will struggle to get the aerial game going. Flacco and the Ravens offense thrives on the running game opening up the deep ball. Any sort of pressure on Flacco and blanketing his receivers will lead to turnovers.

WeatherMan Predicts:

- Tom Brady will have 350 yards passing and 3 TD's
- LeGarrette Blount will have over 100 yards rushing
- Brandon LaFell will have 65 yards and a touchdown
- Tim Wright will have a touchdown
- Gronk will have over 100 yards receiving and a TD
- Edelman will lead all receivers with 120 yards
- Patriots defense will cause two Flacco interceptions
- Patriots secondary will hold the Smith brothers to less than 150 receiving yards combined

Patriots 34 Ravens 24

Conor Frederick 1/10/2015 12:31:00 PM Edit
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