The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium this week to take on the red-hot Ravens in a Thanksgiving Weekend clash. New England has won its last three games and has come out on top in 24 of its last 25 contests dating back to September of last year, but will face a tough test in the Ravens, who boast one of the NFL's most fearsome defenses.
Baltimore has won five of its last six games, with its only loss over that span coming by five points to the 9-1 Eagles in Philadelphia. The Ravens defense has allowed an average of just 14.0 points per game this season, making it the stingiest defense in the NFL. In its most recent six-game run, the Baltimore defense has allowed just 11.8 points per game, and it has allowed more than 20 points just once in 10 games this season.
The Patriots offense, on the other hand, is tied for fifth in the NFL by averaging 26.4 points per game. New England has scored more than 20 points in eight of its 10 games and has averaged 32.0 points per game over its last three contests. Defensively, the Patriots are allowing an average of 17.1 points per game, tying them with Minnesota for fifth in the league.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised nationwide by CBS. The game can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle the play-by-play duties, while Phil Simms will provide analysis. Bonnie Bernstein will contribute reports from the sidelines.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 28th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 21st season as a broadcast tandem.
NATIONAL RADIO: .This week's game will be broadcast nationwide by CBS Radio Sports/Westwood One. Ted Robinson will call the play-by-play from Gillette Stadium and will be joined in the booth by analyst Jack Ham.
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST
The Patriots have six games left in the 2004 season, and since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, the Patriots have saved their best football for the end of the season. Since 2000, New England is a combined 19-5 (.792) in its last six games of the campaign. Last year, the Patriots were 6-0 in their last six games, following a 2002 season where they closed out with a 4-2 record and a 2001 campaign in which New England swept its final six contests.
GAME TIME CHANGED TO 4:15
The NFL has changed the kickoff time of this week's game against the Ravens to 4:15 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff, but the change was made by the league to allow the game to be the featured matchup for CBS' doubleheader weekend. This season, the Patriots will appear in just six 1:00 p.m. games, the fewest since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The Patriots' 10 other games have all had or are scheduled for late-afternoon or prime-time kickoffs.