Majority of Pundits Expect Ravens to Prevail on the Road
If the Ravens are going to get back on the winning track this Sunday after last week’s gut-wrenching loss to the Miami Dolphins, they’re going to have to do something the franchise has never done: win a regular-season game in New England .
The Ravens are 0-6 against the Patriots at Foxborough during the regular season (they have won two playoff games there).
In the last meeting between the two teams at Gillette Stadium two years ago, the 3-5 Patriots upset the 6-2 Ravens, 23-17, in a windy downpour. The worst of inclement weather came late in the fourth quarter when Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense took the field for a potential game-tying drive.
“I’ll say the weather played a big part last time we played,” Jackson said this week. “Every time we got up and lined up on offense, it was heavy rains; you can’t even throw the ball through this rain, you can’t run the ball, you probably can’t even see your opponent if you’re trying to make him miss. But hopefully, it’s perfect weather.”
It might not be perfect, but it’s likely to be better. The weather forecast for Sunday afternoon in Foxborough calls for cloudy skies with a slight chance of a rain shower.
As for the game, an overwhelming majority of pundits are forecasting a victory for the Ravens, who are favored by three points. Of the 50 pundits we looked at, 46 picked Baltimore (1-1) to spoil the home opener for New England (1-1).
Here’s a sample of what the pundits are saying about the game:
The Ravens will win because they are the better team overall.
Fanside’s Matt Verderame: “The Ravens have to rebound after that miserable disaster of a fourth quarter on Sunday, and they should, because they’re more talented than New England in all three phases.”
Jackson wants to lead the Ravens to victory.
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: “The Patriots’ defense has given up just two touchdowns in as many weeks, making few mental mistakes. But … Lamar Jackson is that dude who makes sound New England defenses look silly, even in the best of times.”
Per Football Talk’s Michael David Smith: “Lamar Jackson is playing some of his best football right now, and he’ll cruise to a big game in New England.”
The Baltimore Sun’s CJ Doon: “If quarterback Lamar Jackson keeps playing at an MVP level, it’s going to take another fourth-quarter collapse — or maybe another New England monsoon — for the Ravens to lose.”
The Ravens’ defense will bounce back against a Patriots offense that has scored just 24 points, which ranks 29th.
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: “Bold prediction: The Ravens will rebound and hold the Patriots under 10 points after last week’s fourth-quarter collapse. Under coach John Harbaugh, Baltimore has shown persistence, giving up an average of 19.5 points the week after allowing 40 or more points. New England quarterback Mac Jones has eclipsed 20 points in three of his past eight starts (including playoffs), and the Patriots’ 24 points are their fewest through two games since 2001 (20).”
Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer: “The Patriots don’t have the receivers to keep the Ravens’ secondary slumping and Mac Jones isn’t getting what he needs from the rushing attack.”
The Ringer’s Sheil Kapadia: “[Wide receiver] Nelson Agholor delivered a nice 44-yard TD grab last week in their win against the Steelers. But their offense just doesn’t have a lot of juice. I hate going against [Patriots Head Coach] Bill Belichick as a home underdog, and Jackson is playing through an elbow injury, but I think the Patriots are going to have a tough time here.”
Bleacher Report’s NFL staff: “Fortunately for Baltimore, New England has stretched defenses on plays few and far between. Quarterback Mac Jones only has two touchdown passes with a couple of interceptions.”