The Jets' upset victory over the Patriots was engineered through extreme blitz pressure, causing quarterback Tom Brady to move around in the pocket. That's not his forte due to his surgically repaired knee, and he made several off-balance throws. The Ravens haven't generated a ton of pressure this season as they have been relatively conservative and relied primarily on their front four to generate a pass rush. Brady has only been sacked once this year, and the Ravens have seven sacks in three games. The Ravens do have an edge in the red zone. They're tied for first in the NFL in red-one defense, allowing just two touchdowns in eight red-zone possessions. Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, Brady went 3 for 10 in the red zone for 10 yards and no touchdowns. He was also seen tugging on his knee brace as he tried to get comfortable in the pocket.
2. How will the Ravens' secondary fare against Randy Moss?
Moss is a vertical threat who's extremely tough to stop on the fade route due to his size, leaping ability and speed. The Ravens' undersized cornerbacks will need very sound coverage and assistance from the safeties to keep him contained.
3. Are the Ravens at a disadvantage in the kicking game?
The Patriots feature a Pro Bowl kicker in Stephen Gostkowski, who has converted 9 of 10 field goals this year. Ravens kicker Steve Hauschka hasn't been asked to make a pressure kick this season, but has made four of five field goals. He hasn't kicked in rough weather conditions, either.
4. How will the Ravens' running game do against the Patriots?
Unlike some of the other teams Baltimore has faced this year, New England's run defense is not a slouch. They rank 10th in the NFL at stopping the run. Running backs Willis McGahee and Ray Rice have their work cut out for them, but the Patriots' defense isn't what it used to be now that Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi are no longer on the team and Jerod Mayo is sidelined.
5. Will quarterback Joe Flacco get enough shots at the Patriots' defense?
The Patriots have a strong element of ball control, ranking second in the league in time of possession with an average of 35 minutes and 66 seconds. The Ravens' defense will need to execute on third down to get New England off the field so Flacco can orchestrate the offense.
Ravens CB Domonique Foxworth vs. Patriots WR Randy Moss
Once again, Foxworth is facing a major size disadvantage. Once again, Foxworth is squaring off with a challenging, imposing wide receiver. He'll be giving up at least five inches and 30 pounds to Moss, the leading receiver in the NFL with 26 receptions through three games for his highest catch total this early in the season. The Ravens are likely to employ bracket coverage on Moss with a cornerback in front of him and a safety, likely Ed Reed, behind him. If Wes Welker is sidelined or limited, then there will be even more attention paid to Moss. Foxworth is capable of running with Moss. However, there's cause for concern with Moss against any cornerback in a jump ball situation. He usually wins those matchups, especially if he's isolated in single coverage.
Ravens RB Willis McGahee vs. Patriots LB Gary Guyton
Rejuvenated physically and emotionally, McGahee leads the NFL in total touchdowns with six. He has become the Ravens' ace in the red zone, finishing off drives with strong, decisive running. McGahee is running with power and the offensive line has been opening up gaping holes for him to run through. On a few of his scores this year, he hasn't even been touched. McGahee isn't a starter, but has been getting an equal amount of work as starter Ray Rice. With an improved attitude and conditioning, McGahee is benefitting from increased playing time. For the Patriots, Guyton is a former undrafted free agent who's thriving as a starter with Jerod Mayo out with a knee injury. The speedy linebacker leads the Patriots in tackles, finding the football quickly.
THREE DOWNS WITH
New England Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas
1. On how he's being used in the Patriots' defense: "You can look and see that for yourself. Whatever it is, whatever the best matchup is for us, or wherever we need depth in our defense, that's what we do. You get more and more comfortable as you play in the same scheme and under the same coaches. You just get more and more comfortable."
2. On Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco: "He's playing very well. Flacco throws the deep ball, is managing the game very well, is throwing the ball deep to receivers, and has a great run game. I think he's doing a very good job. You can't tell he's a second-year guy."
3. On Baltimore running backs Ray Rice and Willis McGahee "Both of them are good running backs. You just have to get 11 guys to the ball. You've got Ray Rice who's fast. He hits the corner. McGahee is an older guy that does the same thing. Your point of attack is everywhere. It's not a set thing. Jump-cut runners, I think both of them are very explosive. Both of them are very good backs."
THREE DOWNS WITH
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs
1. On if the New York Jets gave the defense a blueprint on how to attack the Patriots' offense: Every team is different. A couple of years ago we thought the Eagles had the blueprint, and that didn't work, we didn't work, and they ended up going undefeated. We just have to go out there and do our job. We have to play some football."
2. On New England running back Fred Taylor: "He gives them a 1-2 punch with [Laurence] Maroney and him, especially with his size and speed. I don't think there's another back that has that same combination that Fred Taylor has. Like I said, it's going to be an all-around challenge for, not just the front end, but the back end as well and our whole team – offense, defense and special teams."
3. On if he has become a mentor to younger players: "Yeah, definitely. I've got to stop doing my antics in the locker room because they're going to be doing them. You've got to have a loose guy. You've got to have a fun guy. It can't be all business all the time, otherwise you'd be all uptight and can't really enjoy what you're doing. I'm going to try to take a few guys under my wing, how to pester you guys, make your job a little bit harder. It's all in good fun."
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