Patriots D faces toughest challenge yet in Jackson, Ravens

New England Nation

Photos by Will Newton/Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The Patriots are halfway to a perfect season but the second half presents plenty of challenges, unlike the first half. And that begins Sunday night against the team right behind the Patriots in the AFC standings—the Baltimore Ravens.

Led by second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have racked up five wins against just two losses and are coming off a bye week rested and prepared to face Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Containing the dual-threat QB will be of the utmost importance for New England. Jackson has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the last two games but a Patriots defense under Bill Belichick has never let an opposing signal-caller rush for more than 100 in a single game.

The Ravens defense is improved, and their special teams unit is always tops in the NFL. Sunday night is sure to be the toughest game of the year so far for the Patriots.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. Beforehand, make sure to tune into Fox Providence at 11:30 a.m. for Eyewitness Sports’ New England Nation pregame show. Yianni Kourakis, Ruthie Polinsky, Morey Hershgordon and Andy Gresh dissect the matchup and preview the game. Then, directly after the game, flip over to WPRI 12 for the Sunday night Sports Wrap for highlights and a postgame report from M&T Bank Stadium.

Below are some notes and quotes from this past week at the Patriots headquarters leading up to Sunday’s game:


  1. The Patriots are 42-0 against AFC competition when Tom Brady and Julian Edelman are both in the lineup.
  2. The Patriots defense leads the NFL with 25 takeaways.
  3. The Patriots have used hot starts this year, outscoring their opponents 87-7 in the first quarter through eight games.


Tom Brady on the matchup with the 5-2 Ravens: “They’re a great team. Great team, very successful organization. I’ve had some really tough games against those guys. They’ve always presented a big challenge for us. So, it’s a unique environment – pretty tough, very loud. They’re very good this year; pretty much good every year. Good defense. They were really great last year. I actually watched a lot of them last year because we almost played them in the playoffs, so I went back to a lot of those notes. They’re playing good this year – good offense, good defense, very good special teams, good coaching. Very tough, physically and mentally, so we know we’re in for a very tough game.”

Devin McCourty on the test the dynamic Ravens offense presents: “This offense can get in a lot of different things. They can get into a triple option-type of feel with some plays, and the very next play they’re in five-out empty, and you have two tight ends that run 4.6. You have [Marquise] Brown out there, that’s one of the fastest guys in the league, and now you’re in a drop-back passing game where they’ve got four or five verticals going. He can get it to them, or he can still run. So, I think what’s tough is schematically, this offense can get in so many different looks. They can get in three tight end personnel sets and then come out there and it looks like it’s a three-receiver set. For us, we have to really watch a lot of film. We have to study. We have to try to be as prepared as possible for this game because it’s not similar to any game we’ve played so far.”

Tom Brady’s thoughts on Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: “I’ve seen him play a few times this year, too. Just exceptionally talented – speed, quickness, he’s throwing the ball well. He just has great awareness in the pocket, when to run, and I think his productivity has really been unmatched. So, he’s got a very unique skillset. It’s very difficult to simulate a level of that type of player, with that level of talent. You know, our defense – it’s going to be a big challenge for all of us. So, I think what they do a good job of offensively is they keep the other offense from possessing the football too. We’ll probably only have 60, 65 plays or something like that, so you’ve got to make them count.”

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