The Baltimore Ravens last played the New England Patriots in the 2011 AFC championship game in New England. It was a nail biter down to the bitter end when the Patriots won and went on to play in the Super Bowl.
The wound from losing still hurts and the Ravens are eager to get revenge on the Patriots. The Ravens have never beaten the Patriots in the regular season; they hope to end the losing trend Sunday night.
Thankfully the Ravens’ injury list isn’t long, but there are worries about some of the players who are listed as probable, their game time status is still unknown.
Safety Bernard Pollard suffered a rib injury in last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was injured in the first quarter and did not return to the game.
He was held out of practice on Wednesday, limited Thursday and was a full participant on Friday.
While listed as probable, he feels like he can play:
“When I step out there, when my mind is made up that I’m going, I’m not going to hold anything back and I will not,” Pollard said. “Nobody really cares once I’m in uniform, everybody expects plays to be made, they expect us to win.”
Outside linebacker Paul Kruger suffered a back injury in the week one game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He missed last week’s game. He is listed as probable, but says he feels “good” and is ready to play.
Other Ravens listed as probable:
- Cornerback Lardarius Webb, knee
- Tackle Michael Oher, ankle
- Defensive end, Pernell McPhee, knee
- Linebacker Jameel McClain, knee
All were full participants in Friday’s practice. Head coach John Harbaugh would not comment about their status for Sunday’s game.
Offensive tackle Jah Reid is listed as doubtful with a lingering calf injury. He practiced Friday for the first time this season. It is unlikely he will suit up for the game.
The enemy line will be without tight end Aaron Hernandez, out with an ankle injury. The Patriots will use recently signed Kellen Winslow, Jr. in his place.
They have a long injury list as 10 players are listed as questionable.
We are likely to see the Ravens use more no-huddle offense this week, something they strayed from last week in Philadelphia. Their game plan will depend on how the game pans out.
They need to provide deeper coverage in the pass defense to stop Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Ravens’ defensive coordinator Dean Pees hopes to beat his former team. Dean took over when former defensive coordinator, Chuck Pagano left to be the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
Pees spent four seasons in New England as the defensive coordinator before coming to Baltimore in 2009 to be the linebackers coach. The Patriots were one of the top 10 defenses under Pees.
He feels pressure to win this game:
“I’m not going to lie about that and act like it’s just another game,” Pees said on Thursday. “It’s a big game for me.”
It is certainly a big game as the loser will have a 1-2 record, but thankfully it is still early in the season so there is time to bounce back.
I won’t lie, I’m a bit nervous about this game. The Patriots are a good team and they are tough to beat. I keep positive thoughts by remembering that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco outplayed Tom Brady in the championship game. Even though the Ravens lost, Flacco played a hell of a game and I hope he will do the same Sunday night.
The Ravens have won 13 games in a row after a loss, hopefully the trend continues…