The Ravens enter Week 10 at 6-2, two games behind the Steelers in the AFC North. Baltimore will look to keep pace as they travel to New England to face the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Here are five keys for the Ravens to advance to 7-2.
1) Contain Cam Newton
New England’s offense is similar to Baltimore’s, with Newton being a major factor to the success of the rushing attack. Newton is one of the most dangerous runners at the position, so the Ravens will have to keep him check on the ground, particularly in the red zone and in short-yardage situations, where Newton does the most damage.
2) Dial up the pressure
Baltimore has played two quick passing attacks in back-to-back weeks, leading to less blitzing and fewer sacks. That should change this week against Newton. Expect the pressure to crank up a notch this week against a QB that typically holds the ball longer.
3) Stop the run
Like the Ravens, the Patriots want to run the football more than anything on offense. Stopping that from happening and forcing Newton to beat a strong secondary with a weak WR corps should be the plan from defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. Baltimore’s run defense has been one of the best in the league this season, and even without All-Pro DE Calais Campbell, the front is more than capable of stifling offenses on the ground.
4) Run the ball
Just as the Ravens need to stop the run, they need to effectively run the ball themselves. Baltimore rushed for over 200 yards in the last meeting between these two teams on Sunday Night Football last season, and New England’s defense is much worse this year. The Ravens currently have the top-ranked rushing attack in the NFL despite not being as effective on the ground as last season.
5) Utilize quick passes and play action
It was a tale of two halves last week for Baltimore’s offense. The Colts completely shut down the Ravens in the first half but were helpless to stop Jackson in the second half. Something clicked for the offense as Jackson hit quick pass after pass, completing all 10 of his attempts in the second half. Utilizing quick passes and play-action passes is a must for this offense to continue the success started against Indianapolis.