The Patriots will face the Ravens this week for just the third time since the Baltimore franchise was founded following the Cleveland Browns' move to Baltimore in 1996. The only team the Patriots have played fewer times than the Ravens are the Houston Texans, against whom New England has squared off just once. New England holds a 2-0 record over Baltimore, with the last meeting coming on Jan. 2, 2000, a 20-3 Patriots victory on the final day of the 1999 season. The first meeting between the teams came during the Ravens' first season in Baltimore, when the Patriots prevailed 46-38 on Oct. 6, 1996. The 46 points that New England scored in that game are the most by the Patriots in 20 years, dating back to the 1984 season. The 84 total points scored by both teams in that game rank as the second-highest total number of points in a game in Patriots history.
- The Patriots own a perfect 2-0 record against the Ravens, the highest rate of success the Patriots hold against any team they have played multiple times.
- Five Patriots players - Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Willie McGinest and Adam Vinatieri - have played in each of New England's victories over the Ravens.
PATRIOTS VS. RAVENS' PREDECESSORS
From 1970-83, the Patriots faced the Baltimore Colts 27 times, recording a 12-15 record in those games. The Colts moved to Indianapolis prior to the 1984 season and Baltimore was 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 1991-95.
THIS WEEK IN PATRIOTS HISTORY
November 22 - November 28
Nov. 22, 1959 - In the inaugural AFL Draft, the Patriots selected Northwestern running back Ron Burton with the first draft choice in team history. Burton went on to play in 68 games in six seasons with the Patriots. He dedicated himself to charitable endeavors following his football career and the Patriots' annual community service award now bears his name.
Nov. 23, 1988 - Robert Kraft purchased Sullivan Stadium out of bankruptcy court to begin the pursuit towards his goal of owning the Patriots. Kraft's purchase of the stadium was an invaluable asset to keep the team in New England, as the Patriots had a binding lease through 2001. In 1994, instead of accepting a buyout, Kraft bought the Patriots and ensured that the team would remain in New England.
Nov. 27, 1994 - The Patriots defeated the Colts 12-10 in Indianapolis to even their record at 6-6 in Robert Kraft's first season of ownership. The victory was the third in a series of seven consecutive wins that propelled the team to a 10-6 record and its first playoff berth in eight seasons.
Nov. 23, 1997 - The Patriots jumped out to a 27-3 lead over the Miami Dolphins and held off a furious rally to hold on for a 27-24 win at Foxboro Stadium. Jimmy Hitchcock set a club record with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown, and Larry Whigham added a 60-yard interception return for a score. The Patriots had just seven offensive possessions in the game.
Nov. 23, 1998 - Drew Bledsoe led the Patriots to a dramatic 26-23 win over Miami at Foxboro Stadium despite fracturing the index finger on his throwing hand with two minutes left in the game. With the broken finger, Bledsoe led his team on an 80-yard game-winning drive that culminated in a 25-yard touchdown pass to Shawn Jefferson with 34 seconds left. Bledsoe completed 28 of 54 passes for 423 yards.
Nov. 25, 2001 -Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes as the Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 34-17 at Foxboro Stadium to improve to 6-5 in the 2001 season. The victory kick-started a 9-game winning streak that included three postseason victories and New England's first NFL championship in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Nov. 28, 2002 - In their second Thanksgiving Day appearance in three years, the Patriots defeated the Detroit Lions 20-12 at Ford Field in Detroit. It was the first Thanksgiving Day victory for the Patriots in three tries.
Tom Brady will start against the Ravens for the first time in his career. Brady has compiled a record of 21-6 (.778) when facing a team for the first time. This season, he is 2-0 when facing new teams (Arizona and Seattle). After this week's game, the only teams Brady will have not yet faced will be Cincinnati, San Francisco and Tampa Bay.
One of the oldest mantras in sports is that it doesn't matter where you start a season, but it does matter where you finish it. The Patriots have done a remarkable job of finishing strong over the past two-plus seasons, as they have compiled a 31-4 (.886) record after November 1 since the 2001 season.
The Patriots have recorded a 9-1 mark in 2004, notching the best mark in franchise history through 10 games. New England started the season with an 8-2 mark last season, setting a then-franchise best. The top starts in franchise history are listed below.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Patriots have now recorded a 20-3 (.870) all-time record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games. New England has won 16 consecutive regular-season and postseason contests at home, compiling the longest current home winning streak in the NFL. New England has not lost at home since a 30-17 defeat to the New York Jets on Dec. 22, 2002. The Patriots' .870 winning percentage at Gillette Stadium is the highest of any NFL team at its current home.
The Patriots are tied for the best record in the NFL with a 9-1 mark to begin the 2004 season. The AFC East leaders are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers for tops in the league. Last season, New England finished with a franchise-best and NFL-best 14-2 record.
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was raised in Annapolis, Md., approximately 30 miles from Baltimore. Belichick was also the head coach of the Cleveland Browns for the five seasons that immediately preceded the franchise's move to Baltimore (1991-95).
- Patriots Vice President of Player Personnel Scott Pioli was the Ravens' director of pro personnel in the team's inaugural season of 1996. Prior to that, he was with the franchise in Cleveland as the Browns' pro personnel assistant from 1992-95, where he worked with Head Coach Bill Belichick.
- Patriots defensive backs coach Eric Mangini was an offensive assistant/quality control coach for the Ravens in 1996. He was a coaching assistant with the Browns in 1995 under Belichick and accompanied the franchise in its move to Baltimore.
- Baltimore's General Manager/Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome was hired by Bill Belichick as the Cleveland Browns' special assignment scout in 1991 following Newsome's playing career. Newsome's duties grew to include working with Belichick and the coaching staff as an assistant to the head coach/offense/pro personnel. Newsome was promoted to director of pro personnel in 1994.
- Ravens Director of Player Personnel Phil Savage entered the NFL when he was hired by Bill Belichick as a defensive quality control coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1991.
- Ravens Director of Pro Personnel George Kokinis began his NFL career in 1991 as an intern in the Browns' operations department under head coach Bill Belichick.
- Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh was drafted by the Patriots in the second round (50th overall) of the 1978 NFL Draft. The former quarterback played in 52 games for New England from 1978-82 and earned 15 starts.
- Baltimore senior consultant Jim Fassel was a member of the New York Giants' coaching staff in 1991 and 1992, working as an assistant coach on the same staff as Patriots coordinators Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis.
- Ravens Director of Player Development O.J. Brigance was on the Patriots roster during the 2002 season and played in one game for New England that year. The former linebacker's 7-year playing career ended following that season.
- Patriots running back Kevin Faulk and Ravens kicker Wade Richey attended the same high school (Carencro High in Louisiana) and also the same college (LSU). The players were 3-year teammates at each school.
- Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain was a teammate of Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller at the University of California from 1999-2002.
- Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson and Ravens quarterback Kordell Stewart were teammates at the University of Colorado for four years from 1991-94.
- Patriots wide receiver David Givens and Ravens defensive end Anthony Weaver were teammates at Notre Dame for four years from 1998-2001.
- Patriots rookie defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and Ravens safety Ed Reed played on the same defense at the University of Miami in 2001.
- Ravens center Mike Flynn attended Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass., and played college football at the University of Maine.
- Ravens tackle Ethan Brooks is a native of Hartford, Conn., and attended Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has started at quarterback.
Consecutive victories when leading after three quarters.
Consecutive victories when scoring 21 or more points.
Consecutive victories when leading at halftime.
Consecutive victories when producing a positive turnover differential.
Consecutive field goals Adam Vinatieri has made.
Consecutive quarters in which the Patriots have scored points.
Consecutive games in which the Patriots have scored first (18 games including playoffs).
Consecutive victories at Gillette Stadium (16 games including playoffs).
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has thrown a touchdown pass (16 games including playoffs).
Consecutive games in which the Patriots have scored in both the first and second quarters.
Consecutive games in which the Patriots have scored a touchdown in the second quarter.
Consecutive wins against AFC East division opponents.
Consecutive overtime wins (8 games including playoffs).
Consecutive wins in domed stadiums (8 games including playoffs).
Consecutive wins against NFC teams (6 games including playoffs).
Consecutive games won overall.
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games
NOTE: All of the above streaks include regular-season games only, unless noted.
THE KRAFT ERA
The Patriots record at home since 1994, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
The Patriots' record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games (.870 win pct).
The Patriots' record in preseason, regular-season and postseason games since 1996 (.639 win pct).
The Patriots' regular-season record since 1996 (.623 win pct).
The Patriots' postseason record since 1996 (.750 win pct).
The number of yards Corey Dillon needs in order to reach 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
The total number of yards Corey Dillon has rushed for so far this season. It is the most in Patriots history through the first 10 weeks of a season, three yards more than Jim Nance had through 10 games in 1966 (995 yards).
The number of rushing yards Dillon is on pace to record this season, a total that would top Curtis Martin's franchise-best season total of 1,487 yards in 1995.
The average number of yards Dillon has gained per attempt, tying him for fifth overall in the NFL (Ahman Green, GB; Brian Westbrook, PHI) and placing him second only to Indianapolis' Edgerrin James in the AFC.
The number of rushing attempts Dillon is on pace to record in 2004, which would place him second in Patriots' history for attempts in a season (Curtis Martin, 368 attempts, 1995).
WILLIE MAC ATTACK
The number of consecutive games in which Willie McGinest has recorded a sack, including every game in November thus far.
The number of sacks McGinest needs to record in order to tie Tony McGee for third place on the Patriots all-time career sacks list with 72.5.
The number of sacks the Patriots' defense has recorded through nine games.
The number of sacks the Patriots are on pace to record this season, which would be the most since New England also notched 48 sacks in 1986.
The total number of receiving yards Troy Brown has totaled in in his career, moving him past Ben Coates (5,471) for third place in Patriots history.
The number of receiving yards for David Givens so far this season, placing him seventh in the AFC.
The average yards per reception for David Patten, putting him fourth in the league among players with 30 or more receptions.
The number of points the Patriots have scored so far this season.
The total number of points New England is on pace to score in the 2004 regular season, which would place this year's squad second in franchise history in points scored (1980, 441 points).
THIRD DOWN DOMINANCE
The Patriots' offensive third-down conversion percentage this season (59 conversions in 127 tries).
The number of seasons since the Patriots ended a campaign with a third-down conversion rate as high as 46.5 percent, dating back to the 1980 team's 46.7 percent conversion rate.