Beware The Reed
The Patriots will be particularly wary of safety Ed Reed this weekend. Reed is adept at playing what opposing quarterbacks refer to as "mind games," and, according to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, there's no one better in the league at messing with the opponent's head.
"(He can) anticipate plays, sometimes it's route, sometimes it's formations, sometimes it's what the quarterback's doing," Belichick said. "And on top of all that, he's got a tremendous burst and acceleration to the football, great hands, timing and ball skills. When you put it all together, he gets around a lot of balls."
The Patriots haven't played the Ravens much since they relocated to Baltimore, but they had a long history with the old Baltimore Colts, going 12-15 against them from 1970-83.
The team also spent time in Cleveland as the old Browns, and the Patriots finished a pedestrian 4-11 against them, including a 2-4 record while Belichick was the head coach in Cleveland.
New England is 4-0 vs the current Baltimore Ravens club
Looking Forward To It
One of the Patriots who's probably looking forward to playing Baltimore is Jarvis Green, who achieved a milestone against the Ravens four years ago.
Green recovered a fumble by quarterback Kyle Boller in the end zone for his only career touchdown, which put the finishing touches on a 24-3 win.
Avoiding The Sack
Lost in the shuffle through the first weeks of the season is the exceptional play of New England's offensive line, which has kept Tom Brady clean and allowed only one sack.
"They're doing great," Brady said of the offensive line. "They've been together for a long time, so they know the calls, they know the schemes. Offensive lines typically get a lot better as they play together, and these guys have been together and relatively very healthy, which we've been lucky with. They're very well-coached and they all play well together. We've played some challenging defenses. ... Our guys are always up for the challenge and they're always prepared.
"It's pretty awesome to have only one sack through the first three games of the year."
Shrugging Off The Critics
Though he's been criticized nationally, it's worth noting that Randy Moss has made a semi-resurgence this year with Brady back at the helm.
Despite playing with a bad back, Moss caught 10 passes for 116 yards and now leads the NFL with 26 catches through three games. Moss now has 15 100-yard receiving games since joining the Patriots and the team is 15-0 in those games.
Moss needsjust 31 receptions to become the 10th player in NFL history with more than 900 career catches.
Seen This Defense Before
Playing the Jets in Week 2 should help the Patriots prepare for the Ravens since New York's head coach, Rex Ryan, worked with the Baltimore defense a year ago.
"I think there's some carry over from a scheme standpoint," Belichick said. "The biggest difference between the Jets and the Ravens is the players. You're playing against a different set of players: Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed -- right down the line.
"Not that the Jets don't have good players, but they're different. It's just different, different matchups, different guys. So in the end you need to block them."
The one roster move the Patriots made this week involves releasing linebacker Prescott Burgess and re-signing him to the practice squad, which allows them to keep him and Terdell Sands within their grasp.
Other than that, it's status quo as they continue to move forward and build off last week's win against Atlanta. The key, as always, is to get this offense in sync and bring back the days of 2007 when they set NFL records for points and touchdowns.
The status of Wes Welker will determine how close they are to achieving that goal. Welker has missed the last two games and the offense has struggled to replace his production. Julian Edelman is a fine substitute, but he does not command the same attention from opposing defenses as Welker does on a weekly basis.
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