Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Doug Farrar

Hey! It's a flag! The Ravens-Patriots wild-card preview

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

View photo

The last two games between the New England Patriots had Baltimore Ravens have been bitterly fought, controversial contests that left the Ravens feeling as if they had victory in their hands, though New England won both times. There was December 3, 2007, the biggest scare the Pats had during their drive to an undefeated season until the Super Bowl loss ended it all. The abiding memory of that game is linebacker Bart Scott(notes) drawing a penalty for throwing a penalty flag in frustration after several defensive penalties undermined Baltimore's efforts in the Pats' 27-24 win.

New England's 27-21 Week 4 win this season turned into a referendum on roughing the passer -- it seemed that every time a Ravens defender brushed Tom Brady(notes) with a free hand, there was laundry on the field. It put forth the perception that the officials were biased to the extrame in the practice of quarterback protection, and this wasn't helped when one of those flags came after Brady pled his case to a ref. In the end, the Ravens tied with three other teams for a league-high five roughing calls during the 2009 season, and only the Bills had more roughing calls when their offense was on the field than the Patriots did. That's one story to watch -- how will the zebras call this one?

The major story, of course, is the loss of Wes Welker(notes), and how rookie replacement Julian Edelman(notes) will fare in Welker's stead. Against the Houston Texans last week, New England did some interesting things to get Edelman open over the middle for the short passes that serve as the engine for Brady's offense. The Pats ran frequent bunch formations, with Edelman either in the formation or just outside, and sent their speed receivers on vertical routes to loosen up any under coverage in Houston's 4-3. Baltimore's multifaceted 3-4/46 hybrid is a far more complicated beast, and Edelman will see several more obstacles when running those short slants and drags. Against the Ravens in that Week 4 turn, Edelman had one catch for 12 yards, while Welker caught six. I believe that while Edelman doesn't have Welker's sudden quickness and route consistency in those short passes, he has a downfield gear Welker simply doesn't have. If he gets in space after the catch, watch out.

In that Week 4 game, the Ravens ran the ball a total of 17 times. Expect that total to double in the sequel. Then, Baltimore was still trying to filter their offense though Joe Flacco(notes). Now, it's all about power running behind an outstanding offensive line (pay particular attention to right tackle Michael Oher(notes) and left guard Ben Grubbs(notes) in power situations) and using the pass as a necessary accessory. Ravens running back Ray Rice(notes) from Rutgers will use his rushing and receiving to rend rthe ropponent ruseless. (Sorry -- I got a bit carried away there). Rice is one of the two or three most productive overall backs in the game, and Willis McGahee(notes) is a scoring threat from anywhere. If the Ravens are to pull off the win they can't seem to get against the Pats, the key will be pushing New England's front seven back and keeping Brady off the field.

View Comments (0)

Recommended for You

  • Former CB Brian Baucham Sues USC and Lane Kiffin

    Former USC Trojans' cornerback Brian Baucham is suing the university and ex-coach Lane Kiffin, according to an Associated Press report. In the September 2012 game, Brian Baucham collapsed during the second half and was taken to the hospital by an ambulance. Baucham hadn't played in USC's previous…

    SB Nation
  • Mark Cuban made comments about the NFL six months ago and he was right

    Peter King of Sports Illustrated looks back at the comments from Maverick owner Mark Cuban about the future of the NFL. ESPN's Marc Stein has a great write up about the premiere of the Berlin Tall's new movie.

    SB Nation
  • Rumor Roundup (Sept. 23, 2014): Sting, Austin Aries, Cesaro and the future of the Bellas

    Speculating on the rumors surrounding pro wrestling is a favored pastime of many fans, perhaps second only to actually watching the matches. In this daily column, we take a look at the latest rumors being churned out by the pro wrestling rumor mill. None of this has been confirmed as legitimate…

    SB Nation
  • DeSean Jackson doesn't realize the Washington Redskins lost to the Eagles

    Apparently Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson did not realize his team lost to the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday. Yeah, Jackson scored, he taunted Eagles players and fans, and he got his 'revenge' on this play. Check the scoreboard, DeSean.

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Washington34 - 37Philadelphia
    Game Recap
  • View

    Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti faces the media (11 photos)

    All of the parties involved in the Ray Rice elevator-assault scandal are being called to account for their actions, or inactions, and the Baltimore Ravens, Rice's now-former team, are now in the spotlight. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti held a press conference

    Yahoo Sports
    Sun, Sep 21
    Baltimore23 - 21Cleveland
    Game Recap
  • Wayne Simmonds was ejected because his opponent was too slow

    Wayne Simmonds was kicked out of the third period against the Leafs on Monday night in the preseason opener. Korbinian Holzer of the Maple Leafs was really not alright with the above hit from Wayne Simmonds during the third period of the Flyers game against Toronto on Monday night. Simmonds gave…

    SB Nation
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr. needs to own hypocrisy, treat his fighters like he treats himself

    The five members of the Nevada Athletic Commission would be well advised to do a search of the Internet and read Floyd Mayweather's own words from May 1, 2012, as they question him Tuesday. Chairman Francisco Aguilar ordered Mayweather, not only the world's best pound-for-pound boxer but the owner…

    Yahoo Sports
  • Report: Steelers signing James Harrison after losing Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones

    In order to bolster their linebacking depth, the Pittsburgh Steelers are signing former NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison. The Pittsburgh Steelers had a convincing 37-19 win over the Carolina Panther on Sunday, but it was costly. Jarvis Jones was placed on IR-Recall after suffering a…

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Tennessee7 - 33Cincinnati
    Game Recap
  • GIF: Brock Lesnar Curb Stomped by Seth Rollins at WWE Night of Champions 2014

    At some point or another it was decided that the finish to the Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena rematch at Night of Champions on Sept. 21, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee would feature a run-in from Seth Rollins. It was also decided that Lesnar, vulnerable thanks to Cena spamming finishers for the last 10…

    SB Nation
  • Diamondbacks to name new GM Thursday

    The Diamondbacks' search for a new head honcho seems to be coming to an end. The Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be nearing a decision on who their new general manager will be, as USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the club plans to announce their choice on Thursday. Per Nightengale, former…

    SB Nation
    Tue, Sep 23
    5:10 PM PDT
    Arizona at Minnesota
    Preview Game
  • Man Told to Sell Lamborghini Golf Cart or Lose Wife

    RELATED: See photos of another great Lamborghini from 1999 – the Diablo GTR The 36-volt Lamborghini golf cart comes fitted with leather seats, which he confirms he will be sure to fart on as much as possible, as well an auxiliary charger, spare seat, manual, spare parts, and a headrest, which he…

  • What's Your Definition of Success?

    Success means different things for different people, that’s why we’ve started “The Success Project”.

  • Gerald Wallace's contract is like a lottery ticket for the Boston Celtics

    Gerald Wallace was stoic last season. Wallace's three-year, $30.3 million contract was criticized by Celtics fans in a Bill Simmons piece published on Grantland. Eric in Springfield, Massachusetts: "Instead of a jersey number, could the Celtics convince Wallace to wear all the first-rounders we got…

    SB Nation
  • Darnell Dockett has tickets for Cardinals fan getting in a brawl with 49ers fans

    Sunday was kind of a wild day at the 49ers-Cardinals game. Aside from just the loss, 49ers and Cardinals fans got into a nasty brawl in the stands. It's a really nasty fight, with quite a bit of blood on the ground as the fight wrapped up. It seemed

    SB Nation
  • Undertaker rumors of poor health seemingly debunked by his wife, Michelle McCool

    Over the weekend, a weird rumor started making the rounds that Undertaker is in poor health or bad shape or whatever other term you want to use to signify someone is not doing well physically. The source for this was, apparently, Limp Bizkit lead singer Fred Durst, who reportedly dedicated a song…

    SB Nation
  • Manning exposed: Seahawks win, Richard Sherman continues his season of subdued dominance

    Not nearly as easy as the Super Bowl, Seattle ended up just being a little better at defense than Denver was. Going into the Seattle Seahawks game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, we had a very convenient frame of reference as far as what we might expect to see. After all, no other two teams…

    SB Nation
    Sun, Sep 21
    Denver20 - 26Seattle
    Game Recap
  • Gareth Bale kicks the ball at Luka Modric's face

    You know what hurts more than seeing Gareth Bale and Luka Modric scoring amazing goals and winning trophies like we always hoped they would do for Tottenham Hotspur? Watching them turn on each other. GARETH BALE KICKED THE BALL AT LUKA MODRIC'S

    SB Nation
  • Blake Griffin wasn't surprised by Donald Sterling's racist rant

    When Donald Sterling's racism scandal grabbed national attention during the first round of the NBA playoffs last spring, it put the coaches and players of the Los Angeles Clippers in an awkward position. With Sterling disgraced and not yet banned from the league, the team itself was forced to…

    Ball Don't Lie