Last week, the Ravens defeated the Raiders, 21-13. With this win, the Ravens clinch a playoff berth. The Ravens scored first, on a 3-yard run by RB Willis McGahee. Then, in the second quarter, Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski made a 37-yard field goal. Willis McGahee would extend the Ravens lead, breaking away for a 77-yard touchdown run. To end the first half, Raiders QB Charlie Frye threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to TE Zach Miller. After the half, Frye was taken out of the game due to an eye injury. In the third quarter, Janikowski made a 39-yard field goal to make it a one point game. McGahee would score once more, from 2 yards out, to help seal a Ravens win. The Ravens made a change this week, running more with McGahee than RB Ray Rice. The Ravens stuck to McGahee during this game because he was doing well. "Don't fix something that isn't broken." In other words, if he's doing well, let him keep going. The offensive line was great, and was a big factor in McGahee's success.
Player of the Game: Ravens RB Willis McGahee-167 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns
Next week, the Ravens travel to New England to face the Patriots. Patriots QB Tom Brady has never lost a home playoff game, and the Patriots haven't lost a home playoff game since 1980. These two teams met in New England back in Week 4, with the Pats edging out a 27-21 win over the Ravens. Last week, the Patriots lost one of their best Wide Receivers, Wes Welker, to a torn ACL. He will miss the entire postseason. This could be vital to the game's outcome. One main target on Sunday could be TE Benjamin Watson. The Ravens have had some difficulty this year defending the tight end, and the Patriots could use this to their advantage. Welker's replacement will be his younger clone, WR Julian Edelman. Also, Tom Brady will be playing with three broken ribs. I expect the Ravens to double-team WR Randy Moss with CB Dominique Foxworth and S Ed Reed, and cover Edelman with CB Chris Carr. To win this game, I think the Ravens have to run the ball at the Patriots defense. The Ravens two-headed running power of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee can run over the Patriots, and with Joe Flacco's passing struggles, the Ravens can't afford more interceptions. With a win, the Ravens would face the Indianapolis Colts. In another close game, I have the Patriots winning, 23-14.
Suggestion: Turnovers can kill a team. Turnovers could kill the Ravens on Sunday. If the Ravens don't turn the ball over, they will have a much better chance of winning this game.
Key Matchups for Ravens at Patriots
Ravens S Ed Reed vs. Patriots TE Benjamin Watson Edge: Watson
Ravens CB Chris Carr vs. Patriots WR Julian Edelman Edge: Carr
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Patriots NT Vince Wilfork Edge: Wilfork
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Patriots LB Adalius Thomas Edge: Rice
QB Joe Flacco-Hip-PRB
LB Tavares Gooden-Groin-PRB
TE Todd Heap-Neck-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Neck-PRB
LS Matt Katula-Elbow-PRB
WR Derrick Mason-Knee-PRB
DT Haloti Ngata-Ankle-PRB
DE Trevor Pryce-Head-PRB
S Ed Reed-Groin-PRB
G Marshal Yanda-Knee-PRB
S Tom Zbikowski-Neck-PRB
OL Dan Connolly-Ankle-DBT
QB Tom Brady-Finger/Shoulder/Rib-PRB
WR Julian Edelman-Forearm-PRB
DE Jarvis Green-Knee-PRB
T Nick Kaczur-Shoulder-PRB
WR Randy Moss-Non Injury Related-PRB
CB Shaun Springs-Knee-PRB
DE Ty Warren-Ankle-PRB
TE Benjamin Watson-Knee-PRB
DL Vince Wilfork-Foot-PRB
Well, that's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!