New England Patriots Overpower Baltimore Ravens
Written by Greg Smith – 2011-12 NFL Prediction Record (18-9-1)
As the NFL playoffs continue towards the Super Bowl NFL have another quality opportunity to capitalize on this weekend’s football matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. As we go through some of the key statistics and storylines to this game I’ll point out how NFL bettors can be most confident in placing their wagers so we can continue our successful betting season.
To begin, the Baltimore Ravens had a reasonable showing in their last game as they defeated the visiting Houston Texans 20-13. I say reasonable primarily because although the Texans had a quality season and QB TJ Yates did a good job they never really had an opportunity to fully develop into a cohesive unit. Ravens QB Joe Flacco continues to have a good (but not great) season as he has 22TD’s to 12 INT’s with a passing completion rate of 57% and an overall QBR of 81.7. The Ravens offense overall has had a good year to date, currently ranking 15th in total yards per game, 19th in passing yards per game, 10th in rushing yards per game and 12th in points scored per game. The Ravens real power comes largely from their defence which currently ranks 3rd in fewest total yards allowed per game, 4thin fewest passing yards allowed per game, 2nd in fewest rushing yards allowed per game and 3rd in fewest points allowed per game. Looking more specifically at the Ravens and their past performances I have concerns that for whatever reason they consistently play determined football at home while putting on very poor games on the road. Ravens losses to the San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks (two teams they certainly should have beaten) illustrate this point very effectively. Looking statistically at the Ravens on the road we can see that they have averaged only 19.9 offensive points per game and have surrendered 18.4 points per game. Speaking specifically about turnovers, although the Ravens have averaged +0.4 per game overall they stand at -0.6 for the season when they are the visiting team. Although the Ravens are relatively healthy at this point they currently list S Ed Reed and RB Anthony Allen as questionable for the match this weekend in Massachusetts.
On the other side of the ball the New England Patriots continued their stellar season as they dismantled QB Tim Tebow and the visiting Denver Broncos 45-10. Patriots QB Tom Brady is obviously a major part of the Patriots’ success as he currently has 45 TD’s with 13 INT’s for a passing completion rate of 66.2 % and an overall QBR of 105.6. After looking at both the statistics of these two quarterbacks and their overall game sense I believe that the Ravens Joe Flacco will be far below the level of the Patriots’ Tom Brady, especially since Flacco will be the visiting QB. The Patriots offense is considerably more powerful than that of the Ravens as they currently rank 2nd in total yards gained per game, 2nd in passing yards, 20th in rushing yards gained and 3rd in total points scored per game. Definitely, the Patriots defence lags behind as it is currently ranked 31st in fewest total yards allowed per game, 31st in fewest passing yards allowed per game, 17th in fewest rushing yards allowed per game and 15th in fewest points allowed per game. Looking at the average of the last three games for both teams we see that the Patriots are gaining about 22 more points per game than they are allowing, while the Ravens are gaining about 7 points more than they allow. When we consider that the Ravens have been at home for two of these last three games I believe that these stats are somewhat inflated and will diminish as they travel to New England. Finally, looking at the Patriots turnover stats we see that they stand at +0.9 for the season, with an overall average of +0.8 at home and are +1.3 over their last three games (all at home).
Essentially my thinking is that the Ravens don’t travel very well, QB Joe Flacco is below the level of QB Tom Brady and the Patriots are more likely to win the turnover battle (arguably the most important aspect of football).
Prediction: Take the New England Patriots (-7.5) against the visiting Baltimore Ravens (5Dimes.com)
**Greg has been on fire this year. Check out his past NFL predictions to see how well he has handicapped the NFL this season.