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2010 AFC Wild Card Lines: Ravens Patriots Free Predictions

NFL Wildcard Playoff Betting – Ravens vs Patriots Preview & Pick

2009 ended strangely for sports dynasties. Whereas the Yankees returned to glory and may have started a new dynasty, it seems we’re witnessing the end of the Red Wings’ reign in the NHL and, of course, the Patriots’ dominance in the NFL.

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When the playoffs start Sunday, we’ll see what New England has left. Will it surprise us or go out with a whimper?

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

Sunday, January 10, 1:00 p.m. ET
Sportsbook favorite: Patriots -3.5

It was a turbulent year for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. One week, they’d look like world beaters, a class above everyone else; remember the 59-0 win over Tennessee? The next week, they  looked like boys trying to beat men; remember when New Orleans embarrassed them? Other times, they looked like a team held back by their coach; remember Belichick’s 4th-and-2 call that cost them the Colts game?

It’s thus hard to know which version of the Patriots we’ll see on Sunday. It all starts and finishes with Tom Brady. Even without Wes Welker, even if Randy Moss doesn’t feel like playing, he’ll find a way to put points on the board. New England has the NFL’s No. 3 passing attack and the Ravens, though they improved down the stretch, are still susceptible to the big play. With Fabian Washington gone for the year, Moss will have an easier time getting open. If Ed Reed slides over to help, that leaves Julian Edelman open.

New England’s running game was OK thanks to Laurence Maroney’s improvement but OK doesn’t cut it against Baltimore’s No. 5 run defense. Whoever takes the rock for the Pats will be overmatched inside against Ray Lewis and company.

No one could’ve imagined it a year or two ago but, on paper, Baltimore’s offense trumps New England’s defense. Ray Rice exploded into stardom this season, emerging as arguably football’s top dual-purpose back. On 254 carries and 78 catches, he topped 2,000 total yards in his first season as a starter. The Pats were average against the run this season and may struggle to tackle the shifty-yet-powerful Rice. Quarterback Joe Flacco remains a work in progress but his 3,613 yards and 21 touchdown passes show that he’s no longer just a caretaker. His big arm keeps teams honest and he answered the bell with 264 passing yards and two touchdowns at New England in Week 4.

Bettors can’t ignore New England’s 8-0 home record or discount Brady’s greatness. However, they also can’t ignore that Baltimore is a better, more complete team. Perhaps for the first time since moving to Baltimore, the Ravens’ offense is a plus. It’s not nearly as far behind the Pats’ as some people think. Did you know the Baltimore scored more points than Arizona, Houston and Dallas this season?

It’s time to kiss New England glory days goodbye. As the Pats showed against Indianapolis and New Orleans, they can’t make a defensive stop at crucial moments. Look for the Ravens to keep Brady relatively in check and win thanks to their offense, not their defense.

Gambling Trends:

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Baltimore’s last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Baltimore’s last 10 games
Baltimore is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Baltimore’s last 6 games when playing on the road against New England
New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
New England is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Baltimore
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New England’s last 6 games
New England is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Baltimore

Pick: Ravens +3.5

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Shea Matthews lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national newspapers. He now applies his knowledge to sports betting and handicapping every day, and shares his winning picks with the world.

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Comments

Comments

  1. The Ravens defense will definitely make life miserable for Tom Brady especially without Wes Welker in the lineup, but he will still find a way to put some points on the board. Baltimore on the other hand will struggle to keep pace. They may be able to run the ball, but if they have to rely on their passing game to win they are in trouble.

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