The Baltimore Ravens are on a roller coaster season with massive amounts of problems. Problems like a struggling offense, injuries to key players, coaching, and even a defense that, despite its number #1 ranking, experiences trouble stopping quality offenses like the Oakland Raiders, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. This defenses ultimate test of legitimacy will come Monday night against the New England Patriots. Speaking of their game with New England, there is one other problem the Ravens have had all season long. A problem that needs to be fixed if they are to pull off a huge upset win in Foxboro: penalties.
The Ravens lack of discipline has been utterly maddening in 2016 and it is awful to see coming from a team with a head coach who preaches discipline. The Ravens are currently ranked 3rd in the NFL in penalties. Baltimore has been penalized 111 times, with 99 of those being accepted, for a total of 866 yards this season. What's even more alarming is Baltimore being penalized more times at home than on the road. Fifty-six penalties at M&T Bank Stadium to 43 at any other NFL field. In the Ravens five losses, they were penalized 50 times, including 15 against the Giants and 12 against the Cowboys, for a grand total of 452 yards. Even in victories the team can't get out of their own way when it comes to the proverbial yellow flag.
Now, the Ravens will carry a team with penalty issues into a place where you really cannot have any penalties or mental mistakes. Gillette Stadium, along with Heinz Field, is the one place in the NFL where you must be disciplined and in control of your emotions. That's another thing, the game on Monday night will be highly emotional, you can bet on it. Not only that, but as per usual, the Patriots are one of the most disciplined and least penalized teams in the NFL.
It’s a battle of one of the most penalized teams in football against one of the least penalized teams in football. For the Baltimore Ravens, this is something they must finally overcome if they are going to win. They cannot let this game be decided by the officials throwing the yellow flags their way. Especially in the type of environment they are walking themselves into. Gillette Stadium is not a place to go to if you are visiting team and commit bad mental mistakes. Mental mistakes is something the Ravens have done all season.
Penalties will come in this game and the Ravens won't be left unscathed in the penalty department; they must do their best to limit the amount that are thrown. Don't let it hit double-digits or come close to it. Most importantly, don't commit a penalty at the worst of times during this game. Especially in this stadium, against that head coach and quarterback. They will make you pay.