Week 14 of the 2016 NFL schedule concludes tonight when the Baltimore Ravens take on the New England Patriots from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
This game, just like several this weekend, is huge when it comes to determining the NFL playoff picture and schedule as both teams try to solidify their position in the NFL playoff standings.
A win for the New England Patriots tonight can put them into the No. 1 seed overall in the AFC and in the driver’s seat for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. A win for the Baltimore Ravens will keep them on top of the AFC North and help them hold onto their No. 3 position in the AFC overall.
According to a CBS Sports report, while Tom Brady has been one of the most successful quarterbacks over the past decade, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco is one of the few quarterbacks that has had success against the Brady led Patriots.
Flacco’s record is 3-5 in games against Brady and the New England Patriots, and while that isn’t much to write home about, it is pretty good compared to other quarterbacks who have gone up against Brady in his career.
One interesting stat when it comes to Flacco vs. Brady is this – Flacco’s stats have been better than Brady’s in their head-to-head matchups. New England’s head coach Bill Belichick is well aware that the Ravens have caused his team problems over the years and knows that tonight’s matchup will be an all-out battle.
“We’ve played him quite a bit. It seems like he always plays well against us, so I have a lot of respect for him,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the Baltimore media on a conference call Wednedsay. “He’s a good football player and he’s been pretty good. Don’t forget, he took them to the Super Bowl championship.”
Brady’s record vs. Baltimore in regular season play is great, but his stats have been very un-Brady like. In six games, Brady is 5-1. However, he has been pressured and harassed quite a lot. The Patriots QB has just six touchdowns during that 5-1 run, while tossing three interceptions. What is even crazier is that Brady has been sacked 14 times during that span.
Yes, the Ravens seem to bring their A-game against Tom Brady, but this year Brady is playing like he is a man possessed.
Brady has completed nearly an incredible 70 percent of his passes this season, thrown for 2,500 yards, 19 touchdowns and only one interception, throwing 19 touchdowns and just one interception. Those numbers are even more staggering considering Brady missed the first four games of the season for the infamous Deflategate accusations.
While Brady is a serious MVP candidate, and is playing at a high level, he will be shorthanded for tonight’s game.
Star wideouts Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola will both be out of the lineup for the Patriots this evening. Gronk is out for the remainder of the season following back surgery, while Amendola isn’t expected to return until the postseason following a high ankle sprain he suffered in last week’s win over the Rams.
Las Vegas odds makers have the Patriots listed as a seven-point favorite with the over/under number set at 44.
The Patriots are on a mission this season. The Brady suspension has helped New England adopt the “us against the world” mentality even more this season, and so far it has been mission accomplished. Tonight New England can reclaim the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win, and they won’t fail, but this game should be close.
Pats win, but the Ravens cover.
Pick – Baltimore +7
Fans can catch all of tonight’s Monday night football action nationally on ESPN. If you are on the go, the game will be streaming live online through Watch ESPN and the Watch ESPN app. Game time is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.
[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]