Undoubtably the game of the week in the week 3 match ups has to be the New England Patriots travelling to the Baltimore Ravens a rematch from last seasons AFC Championship game which New England won after Billy Cundiff blew a gimme of a field goal with the last play of the game which would have sent the game into overtime.
When the schedules were released people were talking about the Patriots going 16-0 with one of (if not) the easiest schedules in the NFL and now people are talking about them starting 1-2! In reality this could happen to either team after the Ravens followed up their impressive opening win with a loss to the Eagles.
Some key things to watch in this game:
1. New Englands Offensive Line – with no Brian Waters or Matt Light and Logan Mankins plus Sebastian Vollmer not at 100% and not to forget Dan Connoly missing last week against the Cards there are real problems for this offensive line which has the job of keeping Tom Brady safe. The Baltimore pass rush isn’t the most fearsome in the NFL but after last weeks performance from the Pats Brady may be hearing footsteps with the slightest bit of pressure.
2. The Welker saga – WHAT ARE THEY DOING WITH WES WELKER?! Why the Pats are trying to phase Wes out of the offence is beyond most people including me. Sharing snaps with Julian Edelman and being targeted sparingly takes a huge part away from the offence that was so successful last year. With the unfortunate injury to Aaron Hernandez which will keep him out into October might pave a way for Welker back into this offence. Welker can be the difference in this game if he is used to his potential, no matter how good Ray Lewis was/still is he cant cover a guy with the speed of Welker from the slot if Brady gets the right protection and this would open up Gronk’s effectiveness.
3. What Joe Flacco will turn up? – Flacco outplayed Brady in the AFC Championship which shocked almost everyone who has an interest in the NFL, he followed that up with a near perfect display in week 1 against divisional rivals Cincinnati with a no-huddle type offence that he ran perfectly. Week 2 however was a different story especially the 2nd half where Flacco looked like Flacco of old throwing it underneath and not been very effective at all. Although the Pats defence looks a lot better than last year with the additions of 1st round draft picks Chandler Jones who has a look of Jason Pierre-Paul and Linebacker Dont’a Hightower I think they can still be dominated by a fast paced offence which the Ravens are capable of.
Whatever happens i’m sure this game will be very enjoyable and could be a preview of this year’s AFC Championship game.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Dean
I am a sport fanatic from the UK. Everything involved with sport intrigues me, from the tactical side of the games to the intense passion fans show week after week. Being from the UK I'm a huge soccer fan and Liverpool re my team but American sports for me are the pinnacle. American Football, Basketball and Ice Hockey have taken over my life in the past few years.