5 Key Stats For Ravens Battle With Patriots

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) celebrates after the Ravens

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) celebrates after the Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens head up to Gillette Stadium to play the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. Today we look at 5 key stats that could decide this game:

The Ravens and the Patriots are not exactly best friends forever. While it may not produce the same vitriol as the rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it is a meaningful rivalry. It makes you wonder what would happen if the Ravens and Patriots were division foes, rather than two teams that always seem to face each other in the playoffs.

This game has every bit of the playoff feel that their four postseason clashes have had. For the Ravens the playoffs really start now. The Ravens have a 7-5 record and they have to keep pace with the Steelers. While the Ravens seem to be heating up for the stretch after a 38-6 win over the Miami Dolphins, the Steelers are red hot too. For the Patriots, this game is about playoff seeding; not to mention getting the best of a pestering rival.

What is the key to victory on Monday Night Football? Today we are going to look into the nooks and crannies of this match up. We are going to dissect what the Ravens do well and what they don’t. We’re going to look at weaknesses in the 10-2 Patriots. Get your helmets on, because we are about to dive right into this.

Jan 11, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) runs against the Indianapolis Colts in the second half during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 11, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) runs against the Indianapolis Colts in the second half during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

5. The Patriots Are More Balanced Than You Think:

When you think of the Patriots you think about Tom Brady and the passing game. The Patriots offense is fantastic in the air, but it is also quite an accomplished unit on the ground. LeGarrette Blount is having a great year. He has rushed for 957 yards and 13 touchdowns. He is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and he means business when he has the football. Blount has rushed for over 100 yards four times this season and has gotten over 20 carries in five games.

While the Patriots offense is led by Brady and the fourth best passing attack the Patriots have the sixth ranked rushing attack. The Patriots must value the physicality of Blount and the rushing attack. James White is also somebody that you have to take seriously. White only has 31 rushing attempts on the season but he is averaging 4.2 yards as well. White comes to play as an extra receiver; he has 47 receptions on the year for 393 yards and four touchdowns.

The Patriots are led by Brady. However the Ravens must stop the Patriots on the ground. If the Patriots can gash you on the ground, Brady is going to look like the world’s best surgeon. While Brady may slice Baltimore up one way or another, Dean Pees must not let the Patriots stay in their comfortable balance. The Ravens must stop the rushing attack of the Patriots and then figure out how to make Brady’s life complicated.

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) after their 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won 35-31. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) after their 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won 35-31. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

4. Flacco Heats Up Against Patriots

In the Ravens 2014 playoff loss to the Patriots, you really cannot blame Joe Flacco. While he had two interceptions in the contest, he also threw for four touchdowns. Flacco had his typical day against the Patriots, he was red hot. In the 2012 AFC Championship Game, Flacco tossed Ravens’ receivers three touchdown passes. With a quarterback ranking of 106.5 he led the Ravens to the Super Bowl.

Proving that he could also burn the Patriots in the regular season, Flacco orchestrated a 31-30 win over the Patriots in week 3 of the 2012 season. The Ravens quarterback had 382 yards and threw for three touchdowns and one interception. Months earlier the Ravens fell short in the AFC Championship Game. In the 2011 postseason’s most exciting game, Flacco threw for 306 yards two touchdowns and a pick.

The moral of the story here is that Joe Flacco is usually his best against the Patriots. Flacco is coming off a four touchdown game against the Miami Dolphins. If Flacco plays like that again, the Patriots are in trouble.

Oct 2, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) gets introduced prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 2, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) gets introduced prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

3. Top Offense Meets Top Defense

Here we have a classic case of the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object. The Patriots have the fourth ranked passing attack, the sixth ranked rushing game and they put up the sixth most points per game. The Ravens defense ranks first in the NFL. Baltimore gives up only 222.2 passing yards per game which ranks seventh in the NFL. Baltimore gives up just 73.8 rushing yards per game which is the best in the NFL.

The Ravens defense allows a first down conversion on just 33% of third downs. The Patriots convert on third down 44% of the time which ranks as sixth best in the NFL. Essentially both teams put on a third down clinic. The Ravens get off the field, the Patriots stay on the field. Whoever wins on third downs may just win the game.

The Ravens have learned over the years that frustrating the Patriots is the first step to beating them. This is a Patriots team that not only expects to win, but they do it easily more often than not. Brady is not great at dealing with frustration. The Patriots will make big plays in this game. They are too good to completely shut down. If the Ravens make everything a challenge, they may be able to bend the will of the Patriots.

Dec 4, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long (95) celebrates after sacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (not pictured) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won 26-10. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

2. The Patriots Defense Is Fierce As Well

The Ravens offense has just recently come out of it’s shell. Flacco and company will have their work cut out for them. The Patriots defense ranks ninth overall and they only give up 17.2 points per game. New England’s offense makes the headlines, but this team is 10-2 because they are the most complete team in the NFL.

The Patriots defense has 26 sacks and seven interceptions to their name this season. New England has also forced 13 fumbles. The Patriots allow teams to convert on third down 39% of the time. They may not be as stingy as the Ravens defense, but the Patriots defenders are to be respected.

The Ravens offense has been a train wreck most of the season. If they play like they did against the Dolphins, anything is possible. If they play like they did against most of their other opponents this game will be a horrible struggle to sit through. The Ravens offense has to put up points to win, which means they need to beat a tough defense.

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) attempts to catch the ball in front of Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) during the second quarter in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) attempts to catch the ball in front of Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) during the second quarter in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens Must Take Away Julian Edelman:

With no Rob Gronkowski to throw to, Brady’s favorite receiver is easily Julian Edelman. Baltimore has to take Edelman out of the game because he is the receiver that Brady leans on. Edelman has 72 receptions on the season. That beats the next closest receiving threat by 25. He has had over seven or more receptions in seven games this season.

The Patriots have a nice assortment of weapons. Edelman is the security blanket. If you want to make Brady uncomfortable, take Edelman out of the game. Martellus Bennett is a great play maker. Chris Hogan is becoming a reliable player. Edelman is what makes everything click.

The Ravens have their work cut out for them. This is one of the biggest games the Ravens have had in a long time. At the end of Monday Night Football, we will know if the Ravens are contenders or just compelling pretenders. These stats are five things to keep in mind for the game.

This article originally appeared on