The Baltimore Ravens were arguably just one kick away from taking down the New England Patriots and going on to the Super Bowl last year. Now, Baltimore and New England, both sitting at 1-1, will enter Sunday Night Football in Week 3 this week, knowing that the stakes are as high as a game could have this early in the season.
Baltimore has to be thinking that this is a revenge game in every sense of the word. It is clear that this year’s New England team has its flaws, as demonstrated by the fact that it was beaten at home last week by the Arizona Cardinals as 13-point favorites. Tom Brady doesn’t look quite as sharp, and he only has 552 yards thus far in two games. He’ll also quite possibly be without Aaron Hernandez, who suffered an ankle sprain in the loss to Arizona.
The Ravens were arguably the better team in that playoff game at Gillette Stadium. They had more rushing yards, more passing yards, two fewer turnovers, and seven minutes more of time of possession, yet in the end, it was the shanked kick by Billy Cundiff that ultimately ended their season. Now, this game is being played at M&T Bank Stadium, where Baltimore has proven victorious in 12 straight games including the playoffs dating back to the middle of the 2010 season. No team outside of the Pittsburgh Steelers has won a game on this field since the Indianapolis Colts came here in November 2009, nearly three full years ago.
Baltimore knows that it has the edge on the ground with Ray Rice, and Joe Flacco really does look like a Top 10 quarterback. He’s no Tom Brady, but with the hurry up offense installed in the offseason, “Joe Cool” has been sharp, throwing for 531 yards and three scores in his first two games of the year.