Thump, Throw, Throttle: How the Ravens can beat the Patriots

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Running Back Gus Edwards #35 of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball during the first half against the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium on November 03, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Running Back Gus Edwards #35 of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball during the first half against the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium on November 03, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens have a clear path to take to earn a win over the Patriots

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Anyone assuming the Ravens are going to cruise to an easy win over the New England Patriots on Sunday night is not taking in everything surrounding this game.

Oh, it could happen. There is clearly a path to an easy win for the Ravens against the Patriots this particular season. But to assume it will be a cakewalk? Against Bill Belichick and his defense? Nah, I’m going to just go ahead and look at this as a challenging road game in primetime. But there is a three-pronged alliterative plan of action for the Ravens to take — just as there is in this space every week. Thump, Throw, Throttle.

Let’s get into it.


The Ravens run the ball well. Historically well, really. They do it better than any team in the league, and set a record last year for most rushing yards ever accumulated by a team in a 16-game season. Baltimore is putting up 170.1 yards a game on the ground, and New England has shown to be vulnerable to that this season — allowing opponents to rush for 131 yards a game, eighth worst in the NFL.

Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins have continued to move the ball well on the ground following the injury to starter Mark Ingram, and his status was still in the air as of Friday morning. They can still run. New England allows opponents to run. See where I’m going with this?

Run the ball.

But it is important they mix up their running strategies. Belichick is not dumb, and neither is his staff. The Ravens would be smart to continue to employ a ton of motion to put the onus on stopping these runs on the Patriots players and not the coaches. Make these linebackers and linemen adjust and make decisions every play, and cause them to commit resources to stopping every avenue of rush attack. And then…


That order might even be in question, and it should be. The Ravens should run on first down, and they should throw on first down. Again, the Patriots have good coaches. Predictability plays into their hands, and the Ravens have to offer some tendency busters to beat this defense.

Throw quick to Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. Sprinkle in some of those screens and flats we saw them employ in the first half against the Titans. Get receivers running crossers and bunched routes to keep those defenders having to guess on the fly.

The Ravens found success last week against the Colts with quick passes, and that should continue forth this season, particularly as defenses are cheating against the run and linebackers and safeties are running forward. Make them change direction. Make them guess.

And take one-on-one shots downfield to Marquise Brown in the right circumstances. If you get behind down and distance, take a shot. If it’s picked, it’s like a punt. Use the sideline as a safety net to play it safe if you just want to get safeties running backward.

Make the Patriots players make the decisions. Not their coaches.


This is a game where the Ravens defense should be able to shine, even with the absence of star lineman Calais Campbell.

The Patriots do not have great receivers, particularly in terms of weapons who could make an aggressive cornerback pay by beating him deep. Getting Marlon Humphrey back into the fold, and potentially Tramon Williams, allows the Ravens to jam those receivers at the line, and let the linebackers and safeties put more attention on the run game.

The Patriots leading rusher is Damien Harris, who averages a remarkable 5.6 yards per carry. He is a very tough runner who can do a little bit of everything. But if the Ravens can control him and Cam Newton in the run game, we should see Yannick Ngakoue, Matthew Judon and company be able to wreak havoc in the pass rush.

I also can see Patrick Queen getting into the mix this week, using his speed to chase Newton around the pocket a bit.

Bold predictions

• J.K Dobbins could have a coming-out party on national television. I’m going to give him one long run, and more than 80 yards on less than 15 carries. He will also get himself a primetime touchdown.

• Marlon Humphrey will announce his return with authority, picking off a pass and getting two tackles for loss.

• Mark Andrews gets back on track, grabbing two touchdown passes and more than five receptions.

• Lamar Jackson totals three touchdowns on the night and completes more than 70 percent of his passes.

• This game will be close at halftime, and the Ravens will pull away steadily in the second half.

Next. Ravens climb back up power rankings for week 10. dark

Final score

Baltimore 34 New England 16