3 key matchups could decide who wins Patriots’ home opener vs. Ravens

·2 min read

The New England Patriots open up Gillette Stadium for their first home game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens with hopes of improving to 2-1 on Sunday.

They walked into Acrisure Stadium in Week 2 and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in a mostly defensive game, while the Ravens fell short in an offensive shootout with the Miami Dolphins.

Now that football is finally in a real swing with two games under everyone’s belt, let’s take a look at some important matchups to key in on for the Patriots and Ravens.

Patriots G Cole Strange vs. Ravens DE Calais Campbell

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Calais Campbell is a savvy defensive lineman, and at 6-foot-8, 300 pounds, he is a monster to contain. Even at 36 years old, Campbell will cause problems for the 2022 first-round draft selection Cole Strange.

Strange looks really good thus far, including last week’s game against the Steelers, when he held up nicely against a savvy veteran player in Cam Heyward. It will be interesting to see just how he matches up with Campbell, even if the Patriots double him. It’s an important early test for the rookie many called a reach.

Patriots QB Mac Jones vs. Ravens S Marcus Williams

 

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Marcus Williams signed with Baltimore this offseason and has made a career out of being a playmaker in the secondary. Williams possesses great football instincts and has made quarterbacks pay for hesitating. He’s entering this game with the league lead of three interceptions thus far. To go with that, he has 20 total tackles on the year, an average of 10 per game, tying Devine Deablo for third-most in the league.

With the Patriots offense potentially being without their security blanket, Jakobi Meyers, Mac Jones will need to be on another level cerebrally as Williams can and will make him pay for mistakes this week. Although the safeties are making plays, the Ravens cornerbacks are banged up, and if Mac can hit the right reads, he could force Marcus Williams to be a non-factor.

Patriots S Kyle Dugger vs. Ravens TE Mark Andrews

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Although Dugger may be banged up, he is rapidly making a name for himself as the team’s best playmaker thus far. On the other side of the ball, Mark Andrews is the best playmaker for Baltimore, outside of Lamar Jackson.

Andrews isn’t off to an unbelievable start, but he is still one of the game’s elite tight ends. Dugger will need to be on his best as he goes toe-to-toe against Andrews in the run game, and also in coverage. Look for Jackson, who is suffering from an upper-body injury that is limiting his throwing power, to try and exploit the injured Dugger by throwing to his safety blanket, Andrews.

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Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire