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Wild Card NFL Spreads: Ravens vs. Patriots

NFL WILDCARD WEEKEND – RAVENS vs. PATRIOTS

Let’s see now.

The best receiver just tore up every ligament in his left knee. The starting running back has a tendency to fumble the ball every time he touches it inside the opposing 5 yard line. The deep-threat receiver pouts when things don’t go exactly the way he wants them.

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Time: Sunday 1:00 ET
Venue: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
MoneyLine: Ravens +160 (-110) / Patriots -190 (-110)
Spread: Patriots -3.5 (-110)
Over/Under: 43

The quarterback reportedly has three broken ribs and a broken finger on his throwing hand. The defense can’t stop anyone, especially in the fourth quarter. And just about every decision this season has blown up in the coach’s face.

And, oh, by the way, if the New England Patriots somehow figure out a way to get past the Baltimore Ravens this weekend, next up is a rested Philip Rivers.

That about cover it?

Even Patriots Kool-Aid drinkers in the Northeast are having a hard time envisioning any scenario in which they make any kind of run. Too many issues, too many players hurt, too much this, not even that.

Wes Welker’s injury last Sunday may have torn the last innards from the team, but the business model was running on creaky knees ever since Bill Belichick decided after last season that the defense had to get younger. Belichick gambled that Tom Brady’s return from injury would allow the Pats to pound opponents into submission and win games 34-24. Not quite.

With Brady struggling to get his rhythm and NE thin at WR beyond Moss (Joey Galloway was a washout), the Pats had trouble moving the ball.

On the other side of the ball, the defense showed it can stop opposing offenses every time except when it needs to.Sports Betting at Sportsbook.com

The Texans, Dolphins, Colts, Jets and Broncos all beat the Patriots when the defense crumbled in the fourth period. The pass rush is non-existent unless the team wants to bring the house, but that rarely happens because Belichick is scared of his secondary being beaten deep.

The injury to Welker will force NE to alter its game plan just to win a home game and earn a puncher’s chance against San Diego. Expect the Patriots to run the ball and work the middle of the field early to TE Ben Watson. If Watson can catch a few balls in the first half, it could open up the outside for Moss. That’s could, not will, because no one really knows how motivated Moss will be on Sunday at 1 pm Eastern time.

Shutting down Moss is probably Job One for the Ravens, who spit the bit in New England in a Week 4 game in which Mark Clayton dropped a pass inside the 10 on fourth down in Baltimore’s final possession. The Ravens also picked up two roughing-the-passer penalties (no shock there), left town with a 27-21 loss and couldn’t wait to Twitter about how they got screwed by the refs (again, no surprise; these guys always complain about officials).

If the Ravens’ offense isn’t the machine it was through the first half of the year, neither is the defense as porous. Baltimore is a healthy third in the league in yards allowed per game, fifth against the rush and eighth against the pass, and appear well-positioned to stop anything the Patriots try to do on offense. They’ve given up only 46 total points in the last four games, so Belichick can forget about a 38-35 shootout.

The Patriots opened as a 4-point favorite, but that was almost immediately bet down a half-point in most books.

Pick: Pats

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Lawrence Paul is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog, and is a free-lance gambling and travel expert from Massachusetts.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


Comments

Comments

  1. bamacolts says:

    The pats will win with tradition, didn’t when super bowls with great wrs

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