The New England Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens in the home opener after starting the season with two road games. Since Gillette Stadium opened in 2001, the Patriots are 17-3 in home opening games. The Patriots opened the season with two road games for the third time in the Bill Belichick era. They also did so in 2003 and 2014.
VINCE WILFORK TO BE HONORED AT HALFTIME
Vince Wilfork will be honored at a halftime ceremony during the Patriots home-opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Sept. 25. Wilfork was voted by the fans as the 32nd inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame. He is just sixth player to be selected by the fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, joining Drew Bledsoe (2011), Troy Brown (2012), Tedy Bruschi (2013), Ty Law (2014) and Kevin Faulk (2016).
The New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens have squared off 11 times in the regular season and four times in the postseason, including two straight AFC Championship Games in 2011 and 2012, since the Baltimore franchise was founded after the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996. All four postseason games have been played at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are 9-2 against Baltimore in the regular season and 2-2 against Baltimore in the playoffs.
The Patriots and Ravens last played in a Sunday Night Football game on Nov. 15, 2020 at Gillette Stadium, with the Patriots claiming a 23-17 victory. The Patriots are 6-0 in home games against Baltimore in the regular season and 2-2 at Gillette Stadium against Baltimore in the postseason.
The Patriots and Ravens first met in the playoffs following the 2009 season, with Baltimore taking a 33-14 win in a Wild Card matchup at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 10, 2010. The Patriots avenged that loss in the 2011 AFC Championship Game with a 23-20 victory over the Ravens at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 22, 2012, to advance to Super Bowl XLVI. The teams met again in the 2012 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 20, 2013, with Baltimore taking a 28-13 decision to advance to Super Bowl XLVII. Most recently, New England overcame two 14-point deficits in a 35-31 win in the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 10, 2015.
The first meeting between the teams came during Baltimore's first season, when the Patriots prevailed 46-38 on Oct. 6, 1996. The 84 total points scored by both teams in that game rank as the second-highest total in a game in Patriots history to the 86 points in a 43-43 tie with Oakland in 1964.
PATRIOTS VS. BALTIMORE PREDECESSORS
From 1970-83, the Patriots faced the Baltimore Colts 27 times, posting a 12-15 record in those games. The Colts moved to Indianapolis prior to the 1984 season and Baltimore was left without an NFL team until the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens in 1996. Prior to the move, the Patriots were 4-11 against the Browns, including a 2-4 record against Cleveland when Bill Belichick was the Browns head coach from 1991-95.
SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS
By Paul Perillo
When the Patriots run - Edge: Ravens
Baltimore has been a bit erratic defensively in the early going and it shows in all areas. In terms of run defense, the Ravens allow just 84.5 yards per game through Week 2, which ranks eighth in the league. However, Baltimore is giving up 4.8 yards per rush, which is good for just 22nd overall. That's an indication that Baltimore has been able to play with the lead and eliminated the opponent's ability to remain balanced. It's also an indication that Baltimore has allowed some big plays on the ground, one huge one coming from Miami's Chase Edmonds for 28 yards during the Dolphins game-winning drive in the closing seconds last week. Otherwise, the Ravens have been their typically stingy selves when it comes to run defense. Miami averaged 3.4 yards per carry (17 carries for 58 yards) minus Edmonds' perfectly timed draw late when the Ravens were playing the pass. Baltimore's front is strong with Justin Madubuike and Calais Campbell around nose tackle Michael Pierce. Linebackers Patrick Queen and Josh Bynes do a good job of filling the holes inside and will be challenged by the Patriots tandem of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. The Patriots best stretch of the early going came in the final six minutes after the run game had been effectively bottled up for the first seven-and-a-half quarters of the season. It will be interesting to see if the Patriots unlocked something in the ground game on the final drive or if it was simply a solid drive to close out the win.
When the Patriots pass - Edge: Patriots
Based on the first two weeks it's hard to imagine the Patriots getting the edge in an offensive category. For two games the offense has been stuck in neutral, and although New England moved the ball more effectively in Pittsburgh than in the opener, the result was still just 17 points and 10 of those came off a muffed Steelers punt at the 10. But watching the Ravens secondary implode in the fourth quarter against Miami was alarming. As a result Baltimore currently owns the worst pass defense in football, allowing 379 yards per game through the air. Tua Tagovailoa exploded for 469 yards passing and six touchdowns in the comeback win, repeatedly victimizing Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, the Ravens talented cornerbacks. In fairness, Humphrey was battling a groin injury that forced him off the field on several of the plays where damage was done. Safeties Chuck Clark, Marcus Williams and rookie Kyle Hamilton will need to do a better job of eliminating the home run balls the Dolphins hit in the fourth quarter, and that could play right into the Patriots hands. Mac Jones isn't looking to air it out like Miami did, and if the Ravens focus on the deep ball it could open up opportunities for him to use Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor underneath like he did in Pittsburgh. That could allow for a more efficient passing attack than what we've seen thus far, and it could lead to Jones getting comfortable early.
When the Ravens run - Edge: Patriots
The Patriots run defense has been outstanding in the first two games, by far the best element of the team thus far. New England ranks fifth in the league in both rushing yards allowed (78 per game) and per attempt (3.5). That's a dramatic improvement from what we've seen in recent seasons, and it will be put to the test against Baltimore's unique running game. The Ravens have enjoyed success with Lamar Jackson thus far, as the quarterback leads the team with 136 yards on the ground while averaging 9.1 yards per attempt. But Baltimore's backs have been held in check as J.K. Dobbins has yet to suit up while coming off a torn ACL suffered before last season. Dobbins has practiced in recent weeks and appears poised to return. He would join Kenyan Drake, Justice Hill and Mike Davis in the backfield, and none of them has produced much to this point. Lawrence Guy, Davin Godchaux, Christian Barmore and Deatrich Wise have been stout up front in both games and they'll need some disciplined play from Matthew Judon, Ja'Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai and the safeties in an effort to contain Jackson on the edges. After being victimized by Jackson's legs in the first meeting back in 2019, the Patriots did a much better job in 2020, holding him to just 55 yards on 11 carries while eliminating the big plays. If the Ravens can't generate more from the backs, Jackson alone won't be enough to win this matchup.
When the Ravens pass - Edge: Ravens
The problem when defending Baltimore's offense is the attention needed to contain Jackson often leads to trouble elsewhere. Thus far Jackson has been efficient throwing the ball, completing over 64 percent of his passes for 531 yards and six touchdowns against just one pick for 120.1 passer rating through two games. Tight ends Mark Andrews and rookie Isaiah Likely are solid while Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvarnay have been explosive. They've combined for four touchdowns already and average 27.8 and 16 yards per reception, respectively. The Patriots secondary has done a great job of keeping receivers in front of them, and that will need to continue against a Ravens team that likes to look downfield. Bill Belichick will likely try to force Jackson to be efficient in stringing plays together to move the ball, a tactic that has worked well in the past. Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones and Myles Bryant have done a good job of tackling and therefore limiting the yards after the catch. Jackson has also done a good job of connecting on deep balls when given the chance, and with Andrews available underneath that will be a lot for the secondary to handle. As always, Jackson's legs could be the X-factor. If the Patriots are forced to devote extra bodies to contain him, that could lead to some openings through the air that Jackson seems more prepared to take advantage of.
Special Teams - Edge: Ravens
The Patriots special teams were not particularly sharp in Pittsburgh despite coming away with a key fumble recovery off a muffed punt by Gunner Olszewski. Myles Bryant mishandled an early punt and was fortunate to maintain possession in the end zone. Jake Bailey had a pair of plus-50 punts wind up in the end zone for touchbacks as well. And Nick Folk, who has been almost perfect as a Patriot, pushed a 52-yarder wide to the right. Those miscues will need to be cleaned up against a Baltimore team that has performed well in those areas. First and foremost Justin Tucker is the best kicker in football and he once again has been perfect on all 10 of his kicks to start the season, including a go-ahead 51-yarder just before the two-minute warning against Miami. Duvernay opened that game with an electric 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as well. Jordan Stout has taken over punting duties for the Ravens and put three of his eight attempts inside the 20 against just one touchback in two games. Like Belichick, John Harbaugh is a former special teams coach and the Ravens have traditionally been fundamentally sound in the kicking game and so far the 2022 season looks no different.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|2022 REGULAR SEASON||NEW ENGLAND||BALTIMORE|
|Divisional Standings||2nd (T)||1st (T)|
|Total Yards Gained||647||747|
|Total Offense (Rank)||323.5 (22)||373.5 (12)|
|Rush Offense||101.0 (19)||109.0 (18)|
|Pass Offense||222.5 (17)||264.5 (9)|
|Points Per Game||12.0 (29T)||31.0 (4T)|
|Total Touchdowns Scored||3||8|
|Total Yards Allowed||550||927|
|Total Defense (Rank)||275.0 (4)||463.5 (32)|
|Rush Defense||78.0 (5T)||84.5 (8)|
|Pass Defense||197.0 (9)||379.0 (32)|
|Points Allowed/Game||17.0 (8)||25.5 (23)|
|Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost||2/20||2/2|
|Takeaway/Giveaway Ratio||-2 (22T)||+3 (4T)|
- QB MAC JONES completed 21 of 35 atts. (60 pct.) for 252 yards last week. Has 4 TD passes & 107.7 rating in 2 career starts vs. AFC North. Had 16 TD passes vs. 7 INTs for 97.5 rating in 9 home starts last season.
- QB LAMAR JACKSON completed 21 of 29 atts. (72.4 pct.) for 318 yards & 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 142.6 rating & rushed for 119 yards & TD last week, his 11th-career game with 100+ rush yards, surpassing Michael Vick (10 games) for most-ever by QB. Became 1st player ever with 75+ TD pass & 75+ rush TD in same game. Aims for 3rd in row with 3+ TD passes. Has 5 TDs (3 pass, 2 rush) vs. INT for 102.4 rating in 2 career starts vs. NE. Has 2+ TD passes in 5 of his past 6 starts vs. AFC East.
- George Godsey (Patriots: Tight Ends Coach 2012-13, Offensive Asst. Coach 2011; Ravens: Tight Ends Coach 2022-)
- Carl Davis Jr. (Patriots: Player DL 2020-; Ravens: Player DL 2015-17)
- Lawrence Guy (Patriots: Player DL 2017-; Ravens: Player DL 2014-16)
- Matthew Judon (Patriots: Player LB 2021-; Ravens: Player LB 2016-20)
- Ty Montgomery II (Patriots: Player WR 2018; Ravens: Player WR 2022)
- Shaun Wade (Patriots: Player CB 2021-; Ravens: Player CB 2021)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK
- The Patriots enter this week with the third-best opening day home record since 2002, the year Gillette Stadium opened, with a 17-3 record and will look to move into a first-place tie for the best record with Denver and Seattle with a victory this week against Baltimore.
- LB Matthew Judon has registered a sack in each of the first two games. With a sack this week, he will become just the second New England player to start a season with at least one sack in each of the first three games to start a season. Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett began the 1986 season with one sack in each of the first four games.
- Judon enters this week with 49 career sacks and will be looking for his 50th sack of his career. He can become the 9th active linebacker with 50 career sacks.
- K Nick Folk extended his streak to 56 straight field goals made under 50 yards with a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter to at Pittsburgh last week to tie the NFL record with Ryan Succop (2014-17 with Tennessee). Folk needs one more field goal made under 50 yards to establish the NFL record. Folk's last miss from inside the 50-yard line was a 45-yard field goal attempt in the 2020 season-opener vs. Miami on Sept. 13.
- Nelson Agholor had his first 100-yard receiving game as a member of the Patriots last week at Pittsburgh after finishing with 6 receptions for 110 yards. If he records 100 yards vs. Baltimore, it will be the first back-to-back 100- yard receiving games of his career. The last Patriots player to have back-to-back 100-yard games was WR Julian Edelman who had back-to-back 100-yard games in 2019 with 110 yards receiving at Washington (10/6) followed by 113 yards receiving vs. the New York Giants (10/10).
- QB Mac Jones moved into 8th place on the Patriots all-time passing list in the season-opener against Miami and now has 4,266 passing yards and needs 11 passing yards to move past Hugh Millen (4,276) into 7th place. Jim Plunkett is in 6th place on the list with 9,932 passing yards.
- RB Damien Harris scored on a 2-yard touchdown run at Pittsburgh last week and now has 18 career rushing touchdowns. He needs two rushing touchdowns to become the 14th Patriots player to reach 20 career rushing touchdowns and five to move into the Top 10 in team history.
- WR Jakobi Meyers has scored on three twopoint plays and needs one more two-point score to tie Julian Edelman and Gino Cappelletti with four for the most in team history.
- Matthew Slater (102) needs to play in one more game at Gillette Stadium this week to break a tie with Stephen Gostkowski for the second-most games played at Gillette as a member of the Patriots, behind Tom Brady (134).
- DB Devin McCourty is tied with Marcus Peters of Baltimore for the most interceptions among all active players with 31 picks and needs one pick this week to take the lead among all active players. McCourty, Peters and Harrison Smith (Minnesota) are the only active players with at least 30 interceptions.
- McCourty is currently 9th in team history with 190 regular season games played and will move into a tie for 8th place with Raymond Clayborn (191) this week against Baltimore. Patriots wide receivers/kickoff returners coach Troy Brown is 7th with 192 regular season games played.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by FOX and can be seen locally on WFXT-TV Channel 25. Joe Davis will handle play-by-play duties with Daryl Johnston as the color analyst. Pam Oliver will provide analysis from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Pete Macheska and directed by Artie Kempner.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by ESPN Radio. Chris Carlin and Chris Canty will call the game. Sal Paolantonio will report from the sidelines.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 33 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.