2012 Season NFL Football Past Picks
January 20, 2013
Baltimore at New England
Sunday 01/20 06:30 PM Eastern
2 units on New England -8 (-110) (risk 2 to return 2) RESULT: LOSS
The Baltimore Ravens return to the site of their final game last season, which ended in disappointing 23-20 loss. The team names here are the same, but that doesn't mean things haven't changed. The Patriots are not the same team as last year. Their offense is running the ball better (27 yards per game over last year). They are taking fewer sacks, converting more third downs, and scoring more points than last year’s team. Defensively, the Patriots have made steady improvement all season, shaving 38 yards per game off the total from last year. They are allowing 3.93 yards per carry compared to 4.67 last year. The Pats are better on third down, allow fewer points, and are getting off the field as they have turned last year’s negative time of possession into a positive this year. Last season, the Patriots had some hidden warts. This season, they are better. The Ravens offense is not the same as it was a year ago. They are getting fewer yards per game on the ground and fewer yards per rush. Joe Flacco has a lower passer rating and has suffered more sacks. This team has fewer third downs converted and less time of possession. The biggest difference of all is an aging Ravens’ defense that across the board was worse than a year ago. They have allowed more points, more rushing and passing yards and have fewer sacks. And, they are spending more time on the field. While the Ravens’ numbers have declined categorically on both sides of the ball, New England has improved. This Patriots offense is again on fire, and remarkably consistent. New England scored under 23 points just once this season. Meanwhile, they scored 30 or more 11 times. They are clearly the #1 offense in football in both points per game and yards per game. That spells trouble for a Ravens defense that is middle-of-the pack in both yards and points allowed. Yes, Gronk is out, but this team is truly the epitome of "next man up." Without their superstar tight end this season, New England is 4-1. The Patriots have been an offensive momentum driven team, which is now an amazing 63-28-2 ATS in their last 93 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous contest. They are also 74-52 ATS under Bill Belichick following an ATS win. Baltimore played their hearts out last week but it was on the road and five quarters in brutal weather. Now they travel again and I just don't think they can muster another amazing effort in this one. And without their A+ game, the Ravens get smoked. Under Belichick, the Patriots are 57-37 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points and 13-4 ATS revenging a same-season loss. Last year these teams were close, but that will not the case this year. Lay the points and take New England.