NFL Sunday Night Football: Ravens/Patriots Preview

by Big Al Staff

Sunday Night Football on NBC features two AFC powerhouses that are moving in the opposite direction.

Baltimore won their fourth game in their last five after their 24-10 upset victory at Indianapolis last Sunday as a 1-point underdog. Quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 19 of 23 passes for 170 yards in the win while adding another 58 yards with a touchdown on the ground.

Jackson made headlines during the week for commenting on the Rich Eisen Show that opposing defenses were calling out his plays. The numbers indicate that Jackson has not been as effective in the passing game this season. He has thrown for 1573 passing yards so far while completing 62.9% of his passes with a 7.1 yards-per-attempt average. Jackson has also thrown 12 touchdown passes to just two interceptions. Last season, he completed 66.1% of his passes for 3127 yards with a 7.8 yards-per-attempt average. Jackson threw 38 touchdown passes last year to just six interceptions. Jackson has continued to be a threat with his legs as he has ran for 469 yards on a 5.9 yards-per-carry average with three touchdowns. Yet those numbers are not on pace for his rushing numbers last year either, as he gained 1206 yards on the ground last season with seven touchdowns and a 6.9 yards-per-carry average.

This contest is the Ravens’ third game on the road in their last four games. However, head coach John Harbaugh’s team is comfortable playing away from home as they have won ten straight road games. They also have scored at least 20 points in 31 games in a row, which is the longest streak in the league. Baltimore has also forced a turnover in 21 straight, which is also the longest run in the NFL. The Ravens have 14 takeaway, which is fourth-best in the league. They lead the NFL with ten fumble recoveries. With their 6-2 record, Baltimore is looking forward to their rematch with Pittsburgh in the race to win the AFC North title.

New England snapped a four-game losing streak on Monday with their 30-27 victory against the Jets in the Meadowlands. Quarterback Cam Newton played better this week. He completed 27 of 35 passes for 274 yards with two touchdowns on the ground. For the season, Newton has completed 68.1% of his passes for 1417 yards with a 7.4 yards-per-attempt average. He has added 314 rushing yards with eight touchdowns and a 4.6 yards-per-carry. However, Newton has thrown only two touchdown passes with eight interceptions. Newton has not thrown a touchdown pass since September, and he has five interceptions in his last four games.

The Patriots have played only one team with a top-ten defense in that game against the 49ers where Newton only passed for 98 yards. His recovery from his bout with COVID may have played a role in that effort. Newton may have found a reliable target since that time with wide receiver Jakobi Meyers who caught 12 passes for 169 yards on Monday. Yet New England has turned the ball over 15 times already, with 11 of those giveaways coming from interceptions.

Baltimore is without Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell who is dealing with a calf strain. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is doubtful with an ankle injury. Linebacker L.J. Fort is questionable with a finger injury that has limited his practice time this week. Linebacker Matthew Judon is also questionable with his calf injury, but he did take part in a full practice on Friday. Running back Mark Ingram also took part in the full Friday practice with him listed as questionable with the ankle injury that has kept him out the last few weeks.

New England does not have a player listed as out nor doubtful for this game. Head coach Bill Belichick did list 17 players as questionable, including cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Jonathan Jones, running back Damien Harris, and wide receiver N’Keal Harry.

BetAnySports lists Baltimore as a 7-point road favorite with the total set at 43.5. Kickoff is at 8:20 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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