NFL: Back Baltimore to push Patriots

NFL: Back Baltimore to push Patriots

Baltimore has built two past Super Bowl-winning teams on a stellar defence and are again ranked number one in that department as they head to New England for Monday Night Football.

Since suffering four straight defeats in October, the Ravens have put together a hot streak of four wins in five matches to move joint top of the AFC North. Last week’s 38-6 rout of Miami was a mean display and they have conceded an average of just 10 points per game in that quartet of victories.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (below) is wary of what he will face, commenting: “They contest every yard. That’s the mark of a good defence. They don’t give you anything easy; you’ve got to go earn it.”

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New England head coach Bill Belichick is another fan of this week’s opponents, adding: “Tough to run against, very good on third-down, don’t give up a lot of points, turn the ball over. You just can’t be sloppy around this defence. You have to take good care of the football and you’ve got to be physical with them. They’ve got some big, strong guys up front.”

Of course, the Patriots are past-masters at denting the reputation of strong defences and also go into this game in fine form, with road wins against the 49ers and the Jets taking their record to 10-2 this term.

“You’ve got two pretty good teams playing,” declared Brady. “I think it’s two teams that are kind of similar, that are very mentally and physically tough. I think both teams are going to be at their best.”

However, New England have relied heavily on running back LeGarrette Blount crossing over for 13 touchdowns and it remains to be seen whether he can have a big influence on this fixture.

The Ravens’ defence heads the rankings in both TDs conceded and yards allowed on the ground, while the forecast bad weather will make it even tougher to get past them on this occasion.

All things considered, Baltimore look a percentage pick at 83/100 getting seven points on the spread.

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