Pro Football Betting: Pats Look to Keep That Undefeated Feeling Going

patriots-defense

They’ll focus on slowing Ravens on the ground

The New England Patriots are accomplishing things on defense that are almost historical in nature. And even though they have exactly been machine-like on offense, they have nonetheless scored plenty of points. Look – these are the world champions. So they know how to win. And they have the most illustrious coach in the NFL, not to mention the most decorated quarterback. So no one should be surprised by success.

They are 8-0 now, and on their way to another AFC East title. Can they continue their streak against the Baltimore Ravens, who look very much like the class of the AFC North? We’ll see, in this Sunday night game, which begins at 8:20 PM ET at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

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The Pats’ defensive numbers

New England has allowed a total of 61 points in eight games. That’s 7.6 per game. And it’s even less than that, because the Jets had 14 points that were non-offensive.  The Pats have surrendered FOUR touchdowns from scrimmage, two of them through the air. In this day and age, that is beyond phenomenal.

To be fair, they have not faced the league’s best quarterbacks. And things are going to become more difficult once they get past the bye week. But if you follow Bill Belichick at all, you know a little about his defensive philosophy. And part of that philosophy is to take away what your opponent does best.

In this case, that would be the ground game. Baltimore runs the ball with the second most frequency of any NFL team. And with their man at the controls, they have a mobile quarterback, to say the least. Lamar Jackson, the former Heisman Trophy winner, is his team’s leading rusher. And he is on pace to set the NFL record for most rushing yards for a quarterback. New England has allowed 4.6 yards per rush. So suddenly we have a challenge.

In the Sunday night NFL betting odds on this game, the Patriots are laying points on the road:

Team
New England Patriots -3.5 (-105) Over 45.5 points -110
Baltimore Ravens +3.5 (-115) Under 45.5 points -110
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Raging Ravens?

Baltimore is a force on the ground. They average 5.5 yards per carry, so why wouldn’t they run the ball 50% of the time? And they would seem to have the ideal quarterback for all of that. Jackson has 576 yards, indicating that not only is he scrambling, but also doing a lot of designed runs. And he has another Heisman Trophy winner in the backfield in Mark Ingram, who is at 4.7 yards a pop and is enjoying the opportunity to be the #1 back after leaving New Orleans.
Jackson is 63% accurate, and he is actually averaging more yards per throw than Brady (7.7). he hasn’t necessarily hurt his team all that much with five interceptions.

Defensively, the Ravens have found themselves vulnerable to the pass, and they have only a dozen sacks. But they got some help for their ailing secondary with the acquisition of Marcus Peters, who the Rams let go to help make room for Jalen Ramsey. Peters gives Baltimore some flexibility in terms of some of the coverages they can play.

In conclusion…….

One would expect that the Pats will concentrate on stopping the run, and even more specifically, closing off the edges so that Jackson’s movement is more limited. And suddenly you’ll see their rushing defense numbers getting better. What they’d like to do is force Jackson to beat them with his arm, and they have a cornerback in Stephen Gilmore who can pretty much shut off one side of the field.

It is well-known by now that Belichick has won 21 straight games against quarterbacks who are in their first or second season. Okay, we’ll buy that, and move with the Patriots.

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