Patriots vs Ravens: AFC Championship Preview

Patriots Ravens Brady Suggs

The Patriots need to take the "sizzle" out of the Ravens defense on Sunday.

NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed

The anticipation for this week is killing me. Not only do I have the Ravens-Patriots game to look forward to, but I’m also going to be covering the Senior Bowl all next week (follow me on twitter for updates @dougkyed).

Consequently, this week has gone incredibly slow, like Dan Connolly returning a kickoff-slow. Like Tim Tebow’s throwing motion-slow. Like Chad Ochocinco’s learning curve-slow.

But the AFC Championship is finally bearing down on us and we have approximately 48 hours until I’ll be sitting on my parents couch five miles from the stadium with my heart racing, and of course, wearing my lucky Chung shirt.

Here are some things I’d like to see in Sunday afternoon’s game:

THE UNEXPECTED AND UNSEEN

It feels like Belichick has all year been straddling being competitive, while also not showing all of his cards. As the weeks progress, we’re seeing more and more of Belichick’s hand. Last week, the Patriots fully embraced Aaron Hernandez as a running back in the Patriots system, giving him five carries while he lead the team in rushing. It nearly got him killed in the process, but it also helped the Patriots win.

I’m not going to pretend to know what the Patriots might do, but I do have some ideas:

-Hand McCourty the FS role full time. Sterling Moore has actually excelled in the LCB role, and if he or Arrington begin to struggle, McCourty could be moved back to CB mid-game. The drop off from McCourty to James Ihedigbo is currently far greater than the drop from McCourty to Moore.

-Julian Edelman: star corner. The Patriots have been messing around more and more with Edelman on offense and every time he’s out there I’m just wishing he were playing defense. He flies around out there and brings another high energy presence to the defense. With Edelman, Brandon Spikes and Patrick Chung out on defense, there’s definitely a different energy to the defense.

-Nate Solder: pass catcher. We’ve waited all year for it. It’s going to be coming in the next game or two, or else we may never see it. Solder started his career at Colorado as a TE, and he runs pretty good routes for a 320 pounder, so why not?

-Sending Ochocinco or Tiquan Underwood out on deep routes. Ocho still has the separation ability and High Top Fade certainly has the speed. It would add another element to the offense and could open the middle of the field up even more. And at this point, I’m sure Ocho would be single covered.

-Different blitzes. Remember way back in the preseason when Mayo, Spikes and Fletcher were flying through the middle on blitzes? I want that back!

We won’t see a truly full hand unless the Patriots make the Super Bowl, but I’m definitely expecting to see a couple more cards on Sunday. The last thing this team should do is be boring and expected.

ED REED

Reed has got like, one sixteenth the kind of hype this week that Tebow got last week so… still a lot! I know some Pats fans are tired about hearing about him, but he’s a huge playmaker for the Ravens and the Pats and Brady definitely going to keep their eye on him. Unfortunately, no one really knows what he’s going to be doing on any given play. He’s got incredibly instincts and it’s tough to throw around him. Unless the Pats decide to go deep on a couple plays, I’d stick with the same short routes and over the middle stuff they’ve been doing.

Brady can’t afford any more dangerous throws to the TEs deep middle, or else Reed will take those back to the house.

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Tags: Dan Connolly, Nate Solder, Playoffs, Ravens, Tom Brady

2 Responses to “Patriots vs Ravens: AFC Championship Preview”

  1. TD says:

    Gotta keep Brady clean and we can score 30-35pts. Ravens have more than just Suggs to get pressure; Ngata and the other DT get pressure from inside.

    I too am sure that just when the other team has Gronk, Hernandez and WR’s covered, Solder is going to slip into the end zone sooner or later. Just like Brady’s pooch kick, BB is waiting to unveil it.

    On D, just need to corral Rice and put some pressure on Flacco to confuse him. We do not have Houston’s D, so it will not be easy for Pat’s.

  2. qwerty says:

    Not one mention of Suggs in the column!!!

    How well the Patriots OL handle Suggs will be the first thing I watch for in game. Brady will have to hang on to ball hard and not get blind sided by him.

    Flacco is capable of having a good game. Interestiung stat you had on QBR. Remember how he threw for TD against PIT in waning minute of game.

    How much pressure they can put on Flacco will be the other thing I watch for.

    I think any of the four remaining teams are capable of winning the superbowl.

    Because they will be hitting and grabbing hard. Ball security will be high priority.



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