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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Tue Dec 01 | 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM

Pre-Game Report

New England (7-8), Baltimore Ravens (8-7)Sunday, January 2, 2000, 1:00 p.m. ETat Foxboro Stadium

Where can you catch the game?

Television:This week's game will be broadcast regionally on CBS (locally on WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). Craig Bolerjack will provide play-by-play detail alongside broadcast partner Beasley Reese.
Radio:WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, the voice of the Patriots, will call all the action along with Gino Cappelletti, his broadcast partner for 16 years.
Patriots Monday:Patriots Monday, from 4pm-7pm every Monday (WNRB-AM 1510 or through Patriots.com) with hosts Butch Stearns and Jim Donaldson. Guests include Drew Bledsoe, Pete Carroll, Ty Law, Henry Thomas and others.

The New England Patriots (7-8) will wrap up the 1999 regular season this weekend when they host the Baltimore Ravens (8-7). Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 1:02 p.m.

The Patriots are in need of a victory to avoid their first losing season since 1995 and the potential of finishing in last place in the division. In 1995, the Patriots finished 6-10 and in fourth place in the AFC East. The last time the Patriots finished last in their division was in 1992, when the team finished 2-14.

The Patriots won their first four games of the season before suffering their first loss and reached the midseason mark with a 6-2 overall record. Yet, five divisional losses in the next seven games dropped the Patriots out of playoff contention.

Conversely, the Ravens were a slow starting team that took off during the second-half of the season. An overtime victory over the Falcons and two victories over Cleveland were Baltimore's only wins through the first nine games of the season. Since losing a 6-3 decision to Jacksonville on Nov. 14, the Ravens have won five of their last six games, including each of their last four in a row. The most impressive victory of the season was a 41-14 thrashing of the Tennessee Titans (one of just three losses all season). A victory over the Patriots this week would give the Ravens their first winning season since the franchise relocated from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996.

With the playoffs already out of the picture for both teams, one of the only things that will come into focus after this weekend's games are next season's opponents. In 2000, the Patriots already know they will play each of their division opponents twice and will host Minnesota and Tampa Bay, while traveling to Chicago and Detroit. A fourth place finish would pit the Patriots against Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC Central. A fifth place finish would give them Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Patriots will also play two of the teams from the AFC West.

Bledsoe Closes in on 4,000 Yards

Drew Bledsoe needs just 123 passing yards this weekend to reach the 4,000-yard passing plateau for the third time in his career. Bledsoe can become only the fourth player in NFL history to record at least three 4,000-yard passing seasons in his career joining Dan Marino, Warren Moon and Dan Fouts.

SERIES HISTORY

This week's game will be the second encounter between the Patriots and Ravens. They met for the first time on Oct. 6, 1996 in Baltimore at Memorial Stadium and the Patriots were victorious, 46-38. The 84 combined points scored by both teams, is the second highest single-game total in Patriots history (86, NE 43, Oakland 43, Oct. 16, 1964).

While the Ravens have only been in existence since 1996, there is some history between the Patriots and the city of Baltimore. From 1970-83, the Patriots faced the Baltimore Colts 27 times and recorded a 12-15 record, which included a 6-7 record at home. Also, before the Ravens moved from Cleveland, they had an 11-4 record against New England.

The Ravens (8-7) will record their first season at or above .500 since moving from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996. Including this season, their overall record since the move is 24-38-1.

REGULAR SEASON RESULTS (1-0)

Oct. 6, 1996 Patriots 46, at Baltimore 38 at Memorial Stadium

CONNECTIONS

  • Patriots' wide receiver coach Ivan Fears coached Ravens' wide receiver Qadry Ismail at Syracuse University (1989-90). Ravens' defensive end Rob Burnett also starred at Syracuse while Fears was on the Orangeman coaching staff (1986-89).
  • Patriots' quarterback coach Jack Reilly was the St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator during Ravens' quarterback Tony Banks rookie season in 1996. Banks recorded the fourth highest passing total by a rookie quarterback with 2,535 passing yards.
  • Patriots' defensive tackle Chad Eaton was on the Cleveland Browns' roster in 1995, the year before they moved to Baltimore.
  • Patriots' linebacker Jeff Kopp played with the Ravens in 1998 was on their roster this past preseason.
  • Ravens' offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 1978 draft (50th overall). He played with the Patriots from 1978-82 and totaled 3,018 passing yards.
  • Ravens' back-up center Mike Flynn went to college at the University of Maine and attended Cathedral (Springfield, MA) high school. Flynn recorded nine sacks as a senior and helped lead Cathedral to a Western Massachusetts state title.

LAST MEETING

The last time these two teams met, Oct. 6, 1996, the Patriots won a high-scoring affair, 46-38 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. The 46 points scored by the Patriots remains their highest total since they posted 50 in a win over Indianapolis (11/18/84). The 84 combined points was the second highest total in Patriots history. Drew Bledsoe passed for 310 yards and four touchdowns as the Patriots held off a fourth quarter comeback by the Ravens. Bledsoe passed for his first of four 300-yard games of the season, connecting on 25 of 39 attempts and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Shawn Jefferson caught four passes for 88 yards and had his first multiple touchdown game of his career with scores from 7 and 35 yards.

The Patriots scored on seven of the first nine possessions, including six straight, to establish a 38-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Ravens responded with 24 fourth quarter points to pull within eight with just under two minutes remaining in the game. The difference turned out to be a blocked punt the Patriots were able to return for a score late in the fourth quarter. Special teams player Larry Whigham blocked a Ravens punt and Tedy Bruschi recovered the loose ball and returned it four yards for a score and they added a two-point conversion.

Vinny Testaverde completed 29 of 45 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Raven's wide receivers, Michael Jackson (two) and Derrick Alexander (one) were on the receiving end of the three scores. They each also had over 100 yards receiving, Jackson (8-128) and Alexander (6-123).

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The Patriots will extend their home sellout streak to 61 games in this weekend's season finale against the Baltimore Ravens. The streak, which dates back to the 1994 season opener, includes preseason, postseason and regular season games.

AFC EAST STANDINGS

WLTPct.
Indianapolis Colts1320.867
Buffalo Bills1050.667
Miami Dolphins960.600
New York Jets780.467
New England780.467
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