NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-1) vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-0)
Sunday, October 4, 2009 Gillette Stadium (68,756) 1:00 p.m. EDT
The New England Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at Gillette Stadium to close New England’s only back-to-back home stand of the 2009 season. Last week, the Patriots beat the Falcons at home, 26-10, to extend their winning streak to 16-straight against NFC opponents.
Baltimore has never scored a touchdown in Foxborough after being held to a pair of field goals in a 20-3 loss at Foxboro Stadium in 1999 and a 24-3 loss in their first and only visit to Gillette Stadium in 2004.
For the second straight week, the Patriots will face an undefeated team with Baltimore standing at 3-0 after scoring 30-plus points in all three wins. Baltimore beat Kansas City, 38-24, San Diego, 21-26 and Cleveland, 34-3.
THE NFL ON CBS lead announce team of Jim Nantz, who this year is marking his 25th with CBS Sports, and Phil Simms call the action from the Baltimore Ravens-New England Patriots game live from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Lance Barrow is the coordinating producer and lead game producer and Mike Arnold is the lead game director.
CBS’ Boomer Esiason offered his thoughts on the Patriots/Ravens matchup in a conference call earlier this week:
(On New England): The big concern for the New England Patriots has to be their offense and their lack of scoring in the red zone, which really is a bigger picture deal because it has to do with some of the inaccuracy problems that Tom Brady has suffered through the first three weeks of the season. Clearly, he is not even a year removed from his knee surgery. And on top of that, hurting his right shoulder in a preseason game against the Washington Redskins kind of leads you to believe and understand why he’d struggle a little bit. But I think each and every week he’s going to get better. Their offense will get better and they’re going to be tough at home. Their defense has actually played pretty well, even with all the defections and the injuries that they’ve had. I look for the New England Patriots to get to 3-1 and to win an AFC game which will be mighty important for them.
(More on Brady and Patriots Offense): Asking Tom Brady to throw the ball 142 times is not really what they should be doing at this point. They should be trying to run the ball more. We saw that last week with Fred Taylor. I would expect that they’ll try to do it again this week but they’re playing against one of the best run defenses in football so it might be a situation where Tom is going to have to expect to throw 45 times-or-more again if they expect to win.
(On Baltimore): This will be a tough game for Joe Flacco. Even though he’s gone for 300 yards in three straight games, I doubt that he’ll do it this week. This is not the same Ravens team that we’ve come to know over the years. I’m not really sure how Baltimore fans are reacting to it because I don’t think they’ve ever had a quarterback throw for 300 yards, let alone have one that did it three straight weeks.
This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience by Sports USA Radio Network. Bob Fitzgerald and Ross Tucker will call the game with Tony Graziani handling the sideline reporting.
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown will have reports from Sal Paolantonio covering the Ravens and Patriots from Gillette.
ESPN’s NFL Matchup, (Sunday 3 A.M. and 7:30 A.M.) will have the following report from Ravens @ Patriots – Merril Hoge unveils how using base personnel and run action could take some pressure off quarterback Tom Brady against Baltimore’s complex defense.
They’ve got a lot of love for the Ravens on their NFL Expert Picks – Week 4.
On the NFL Network’s NFL Gameday Morning, they will have an interview with Ravens QB Joe Flacco as he prepares to face the Patriots. Kara Henderson will have reports from Gillette.
On Playbook AFC, the crew will analyze why the Ravens defense is expected to shut down the Patriots offense.
You’ll also get several opportunities to review the last time these two teams met in the regular season. The network will replay the 12/3/07 meeting twice on Friday night (9:00pm and 2:00 am) and once on Saturday (2:00 pm). You can also catch the America’s Game episode for the 2004 Patriots at 1:00 pm on Saturday.
Be sure to check out Damon Hack’s column in Sports Illustrated this week about the Bill Belichick taking on the challenge of rebuilding his team on the fly.