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Which Ravens Could Give The Patriots The Most Trouble?

With a tough game coming against the Ravens, we examine the biggest threats that Baltimore poses to the Patriots.

The Patriots look forward after an impressive win at Pittsburgh that moved them to one win and one loss. Up next, their home opener against another AFC North foe in Baltimore, who boasts a strong, offensive-minded team despite also coming in at one win and one loss. We look at the considerable threats they pose to the Patriots.

Can The Patriots Do Anything To Stop Lamar Jackson?

Lamar has been a difficult opponent for any team going up against him. The former heisman winner has tallied over 10,000 passing yards as a Raven, as well as 90 TDs. He’s far from a traditional passing quartback however, and has also had 3800 rushing yards and 22 rushing TDs, and all of this in just over four seasons of work.

On the tape, it’s obvious that he has extremely quick feet, elusiveness, and agility. Furthermore, he has the of postponement because his mobility allows him to change his mind and adapt to how the play is going. This makes things extremely difficult for defenses, as it’s impossible to fully account for both the pass and run, and as a result they’re left guessing against someone who can do it all. Lamar’s sense for how to best use his ability has only gotten better over his time, as has his previously inconsistent arm.

He hasn’t missed a beat this season, and will pose a huge challenge for the Patriots’ defense. While the Patriots have faced a good offense in the Dolphins and did quite well, this is a different type of challenge. However, perhaps not one that the Patriots aren’t up to. They have a fearsome pass rush, a deep and well-schemed secondary, and a fast group of linebackers.

The last item on that list can very well be the x-factor here. The linebackers are a faster, more versatile group than they’ve ever been, and have the ability to run cover, pass cover, spy, and adapt to whatever they need to do in a given play. Against a player of such speed and adaptability, it’s important that the linebackers match those talents. This game could be a great way to realistically gauge how good the Patriots’ defense really is after what has been a great start for the unit.

Will Mark Andrews Continue To Be A Reliable Weapon

One of Lamar’s favorite weapons, Andrews came into the NFL off a very successful career at Oklahoma that included a John Mackey Award, and with over 15 yards per catch there, he was a huge source of big plays for the Sooners. The color of his uniform may have changed since, but as a Raven, his production hasn’t. He has had 277 receptions for over 3600 yards and 30 TDs, and is coming off a blistering 2021 season with over 1300 yards and a whopping 107 receptions.

Andrews physicality and size, at 6’5″ and 247 lbs makes him an intimidating figure, and he uses that figure to plow through defenders both during his routes and after the catch. He runs his routes well and is very adept at switching from a block to a route, and has sure hands. Furthermore, for his size, he has exceptional speed, and most importantly, he makes the big plays, generating first downs in big moments and knowing how to get into the end zone

It has been clear that Lamar has been able to rely on him as a weapon, and Sunday will be no exception. The height difference alone will be a problem for the secondary. The corners, while quick, are all under six feet, and Andrews is 6’5″ so there will be a significant mismatch there. The Patriots will have to be creative and use their safeties and linebackers, in addition to their quarterbacks.

Can Mac And The Passing Game Avoid Falling Prey To Marcus Williams?

Miami’s freak comeback against Baltimore this past Sunday involved, among other things, a breakdown in the Baltimore secondary. Safety Marcus Williams was in no way part of that, though. He has had an incredible season so far, intercepting Tua twice on Sunday and have three interceptions, along with 22 tackles, during two games. He has had a successful career with 342 tackles and 18 interceptions, but he does appear to be playing his best football against the Ravens.

Williams does appear to be fitting even better than normal in the Ravens’ system. His speed and athleticism has been there his entire career, but so far this season, he’s been able to have an awareness of how the play is unfolding as well and adapt to it. More than anything, he’s a ball hawk and if there’s an opportunity for him to get a pick, he’ll go get that ball. Having someone like that on a secondary can be very dangerous and the Patriots will need to game plan around him, especially with Mac still getting his bearings and having two interceptions this year.

The best thing the Patriots can do is to take advantage of Mac’s good decision-making and not do too many rash things. The offense is getting more aggressive, especially Mac with his reinvented arm after his work with Tom House, however, they need to be trying to find that balance with that aggression and Mac’s strengths. Last week, the interception to Minkah Fitzpatrick was the result of a poor throw into double coverage, and Mac will need to avoid such throws if the Patriots want to hang around with the Ravens.

Furthermore, the Ravens secondary hasn’t gotten much outside of Williams, who has had all three interceptions for the team this season. The Patriots can get a lot done, potentially, if they avoid him in most situations.

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