2015 AFC Divisional Playoffs
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, Massachusetts
Saturday, January 10, 2015, 4:35 pm, TV: NBC
Opening Line: New England -7
Current Line: New England -7 (+100)
Opening Total: 49
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: Patriots -300 / Ravens +250
Current Money Line: Patriots -300 / Ravens +250
The New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens meet in the playoffs for the fourth time since 2010 Saturday in Foxboro. The 12-4 Patriots won the AFC East and also clinched the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Ravens went 10-6 and finished third in the AFC North. Still it was good enough to clinch the #6 seed in the AFC playoffs. Last week, Baltimore beat the arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 in Pittsburgh in the Wild Card playoffs. New England had a first round bye as the #1 seed. The winner between the Patriots and Ravens will play either the Denver Broncos or Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship next week.
Since 2004, New England leads the series against Baltimore 6-3. The Ravens have won 2 of the 3 post-season meetings though including 28-13 in the 2013 AFC Championship. Like this game all three previous playoff games recently have been in Foxboro. The two teams did not meet in the regular season this year but the Patriots won the last meeting 41-7 last season in Baltimore to snap a two game losing streak to the Ravens.
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Baltimore is coached by John Harbaugh. The Ravens have home wins over the Steelers 26-6, Carolina Panthers 38-10, Atlanta Falcons 29-7, Tennessee Titans 21-7, Jacksonville Jaguars 20-12 and Cleveland Browns 20-10 last week, along with road wins at the Browns 23-21, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-17, New Orleans Saints 34-27 and Miami Dolphins 28-13. Baltimore has home losses to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-16 and San Diego Chargers 34-33, and road losses at the Colts 20-13, Bengals 27-24, Steelers 43-23 and Houston Texans 25-13. The Ravens have won 4 of the last 5 games. Baltimore is 8-8-1 ATS and the total is 7-9-1 this season. The Ravens were 3 point underdogs against the Steelers last week and the total was 47.
New England is coached by Bill Belichick. The Patriots have road losses at the Dolphins 33-20, Kansas City Chiefs 41-14, and Green Bay Packers 26-21, and a home loss to the Buffalo Bills 17-9 two weeks ago. The Patriots had already clinched home field going into the Bills game and rested a lot of their starters. The Buffalo loss snapped a 3 game winning streak for New England. The Patriots have road wins at the Minnesota Vikings 30-7, Bills 37-22, Indianapolis Colts 42-20, Chargers 23-14, and New York Jets 17-16 along with home wins over the Oakland Raiders 16-9, Cincinnati Bengals 43-17, New York Jets 27-25, Chicago Bears 51-23, Broncos 43-21, Detroit Lions 34-9 and Dolphins 41-13. New England is 9-7 ATS and the total is 9-7 this season. The Patriots were 4 point favorites against Buffalo and the total was 43.5.
Baltimore is outscoring teams 26-19 this season. The Ravens are #8 in scoring and #6 in points allowed. Baltimore is averaging 365 yards per game on offense including 239 passing and 126 rushing yards. The Ravens are #13 or better in all three categories. On defense, Baltimore is allowing 337 total yards per game including 249 passing and 88 rushing yards. Baltimore is #23 in pass defense, #4 in rush defense and #8 in total defense. The Ravens are 93/223 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 94/235. Baltimore has forced 49 sacks and allowed 19 this season. The Ravens are +2 in turnovers. The Ravens have 2 defensive touchdowns and a special teams touchdown this season.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has completed 62.1% of his passes for 3,986 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with 70 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Justin Forsett has 235 carries for 1,266 yards with 8 touchdowns, along with 44 catches for 263 yards. Bernard Pierce has 93 carries for 366 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 2 catches. Lorenzo Taliaferro has 68 carries for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 8 catches for 114 yards. He is out for the season with an ankle injury.
Receiver Steve Smith has 79 catches for 1,065 yards and 6 touchdowns. Torrey Smith has 49 catches for 767 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tight end Owen Daniels has 48 catches for 527 yards and 4 touchdowns. Kamar Aiken has 24 catches for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. Twelve defensive players and four offensive linemen are questionable or out for Baltimore.
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New England is outscoring teams 29-20. The Patriots are #4 in scoring and #8 points allowed. New England is averaging 366 yards per game on offense including 258 passing yards and 108 rushing yards. The Patriots are #11 in total offense and #9 in passing. On defense, New England is allowing 344 yards per game including 240 passing and 104 rushing yards. New Eng;and is 13th or better in all three categories. The Patriots are 105/234 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 92/232. The Patriots have forced 40 sacks and allowed 26 this season. New England is +12 in turnovers. The Patriots have four defensive scores and a special teams touchdown and have allowed two defensive touchdowns this season.
Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 64.9% of his passes for 4,109 yards with 33 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, plus 57 rushing yards.
Running back Jonas Gray has 89 carries for 412 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Shane Vereen has 96 carries for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 52 catches for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. Stevan Ridley is out for the season with a knee injury. He had 94 carries for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 4 catches. LeGarrette Blount has 60 carries for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns after returning to the Patriots after being released by Pittsburgh midway through the season.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. Receiver Julian Edelman has 92 catches for 972 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 10 carries for 94 yards. He is questionable with a concussion. Brandon LeFell has 74 catches for 953 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is questionable with a foot injury. Tim Wright has 26 catches for 259 yards and 6 touchdowns. Nine defensive players are listed on the injury report.
Baltimore is 6-0 ATS in playoff games, 5-0 in road playoff games and in January, 6-1 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 13-4 against teams with winning records, 9-3-2 against teams with winning home records, 2-5 in divisional playoff games, 4-11-1 against AFC teams, 2-7-1 after a cover, 1-4 after rushing for less than 90 yards, and 2-9-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards. The road team is 5-0-1 ATS in this series recently and the underdog is 4-1-1 in those games. The Ravens are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 trips to Foxboro.
New England is 8-0 ATS against teams with winning road records, 4-1 at home and after scoring less than 15 points, 8-2 against teams with winning records, 13-5 on fieldturf, 23-9-2 after passing for less than 150 yards, 5-2 after failing to cover, 36-15-1 after a straight up loss, 3-8 in home playoff games and 3-10 in playoff games overall. The under is 6-2 in this series in Foxboro recently.
New England has struggled on offense the last month of the season except for a 41 point outburst against Miami. Part of that is playing some good defenses in the Chargers, Jets and Bills. On paper, Baltimore looks too banged up especially in the secondary but the Ravens proved you can’t bet against them in January no matter who is playing with their win over the Steelers last week. I think Baltimore has a real shot at pulling off the upset but I will take Brady and the Patriots in a close game.