Patriots Look to Rebound vs. Ravens
Shocking; stunning; bewildering; confounding; Whatever word you want to pull out of the thesaurus to use, it still might not be adequate to describe what happened at Gillette Stadium Sunday, when the New England Patriots looked very un-Patriots like in losing to the Arizona Cardinals 20-18.
Now New England has to pick itself up and get ready for what, in the end, could turn out to be the most important game of this regular season, a rematch of last year's AFC championship vs. the Ravens in Baltimore Sunday night (8:25 pm Eastern, ESPN).
Anatomy of an Upset
Where do you start, other than to say the Patriots got outplayed Sunday, didn't deserve to win the game, and still had multiple chances? New England failed on a 2-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game, and after getting incredibly fortunate to force a Cardinals fumble, the Pats had a touchdown called back, then missed a field goal at the buzzer.
And the first Arizona touchdown was set up by a blocked punt that gave the Cards the ball at the New England two-yard line.
The Patriots not only lost the game, but probably the services of TE Aaron Hernandez, after he suffered an ankle injury. Early word is Hernandez will miss the next several weeks.
All in all, a performance unworthy of a Super Bowl contender.
The Black Birds
Baltimore is 1-1, after pounding Cincinnati opening weekend, but falling at Philly Sunday 24-23. The Ravens led 17-7 into the third quarter, but actually got outplayed by the Eagles, losing the time-of-possession battle by a 34/26 margin.
Rivalry with the Ravens
The Patriots and Ravens have already met five times over the last five seasons, including twice in the playoffs. They just met last January, in Foxboro in the AFC championship game, New England coming away with that 23-20 victory thanks to a missed Baltimore field goal right at the end. The Ravens outgained the Patriots 398-330 and held the ball for over 33 minutes, but also had a potentially game-winning pass dropped in the end zone in the final minute. New England was fortunate to win that day.
As of Tuesday AM most NFL odds boards outlets were offering the Patriots at +3 for Sunday night's game, with a total of 49. Also, those who are thinking New England might win this game outright can get the Pats at around +130 on some of the various NFL betting moneylines.