The Ravens got the best of the New England Patriots earlier this year in a back-and-forth Week 3 shootout.
That victory was one of the Ravens’ most impressive wins of the regular season, but they aren’t putting too much stock in that game heading into this Sunday’s rematch.
“I look at it completely different,” wide receiver
Both teams evolved during the season, which makes it difficult to draw too much from an early-season game.
“This is a team that changes a lot,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “They are kind of like a chameleon. You never really know schematically what they are going to come out and do. That’s been a trademark of Coach [Bill] Belichick’s for as long as he’s been coaching.”
Here is a closer look at some of the key differences in the two teams since the first matchup:
The Ravens opened the season with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year out for six weeks recovering from a torn Achilles. His return to the lineup has made a difference for the defense, and he’s played some of his best football of the season lately. Suggs had 10 tackles and two sacks last week against the Broncos, and he’ll be looking to disrupt one of his rivals, Tom Brady, on Sunday.
Jim Caldwell has taken over as offensive coordinator
Cam Cameron was still calling the offensive plays during that first meeting with the Patriots, and while the offense hasn’t changed drastically since Caldwell took over in Week 15, the group is hot right now. In the last three games where the starters have played (the Ravens rested most of their starters in Week 17 vs. the Bengals), the Ravens have averaged 31.7 points per game. Quarterback Joe Flacco has performed well under Caldwell and is coming off a performance where he outdueled Peyton Manning, throwing for 331 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Denver.
Patriots brought in cornerback Aqib Talib
The Patriots made a move midway through the season to shore up their pass defense by trading for cornerback Aqib Talib, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He finished the regular season with one interception and played a strong game Sunday against the Texans, notching 10 total tackles. He is arguably the Patriots’ top cover corner, and will spend much of the game matched up against Smith and
Ravens have new offensive line group
One of the biggest changes for the offense this postseason has been re-inserting veteran
Big changes in Ravens secondary
Perhaps the biggest loss for the Ravens this year was the season-ending knee injury to cornerback