Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/22/12

The New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens are both coming off of losses in games that they were each favored.

With both sitting at 1-1, one of these AFC powerhouses will start the young season with disappointment, but that should not stop either one of them from reaching the playoffs.

The Patriots had the single most shocking loss of Week 2, being defeated by the visiting Cardinals in a game where no one gave Arizona the slightest chance to win.

The Ravens, on the other hand, had a more respectable loss. They had to travel to Philadelphia to take on an angry Eagles' team that was out to show the world that they are elite.

Both games were close, with New England losing by two and Baltimore by one, but a loss is a loss, and neither one of these teams expects to have many when it is all said and done.

With that said, we now take a look at three bold predictions for Sunday's matchup between Tom Brady's Patriots and Joe Flacco's Ravens.

1. Tom Brady will struggle against the Ravens' defense.

The Ravens' pass defense is towards the bottom of the pack, giving up 275 yards per game. Though this does not seem to favor Baltimore, Brady and the offense will struggle as a result of the Patriots' offensive line having another tough week.

Also, the Patriots' offense has not lived up to expectations from last season - at least not yet. Though they are ranked 6th in total offense, putting up 388.5 yards per game, they are 12th in scoring offense compared to third a season ago and first in 2010.

While I believe they will find their stride soon, especially with Wes Welker coming off of a nice game and Deion Branch getting re-signed, this will not be the week. In Brady's last six games against the Ravens, he has thrown for only six touchdowns and a poor eight interceptions.

Even with these below average numbers, the Patriots' signal-caller somehow has a 7-1 career record against Baltimore. This is due to the previous subpar play of Flacco, but the Ravens' quarterback has come a long way in a short time and is now capable of playing like an elite quarterback.

2. Joe Flacco will bounce back from his Week 2 performance.

In Week 1 against the Bengals, Flacco was superb, completing 72.4 percent of his passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns. The following week, however, was a different story.

He completed only 52.4 percent of his passes for a passer rating was 66.8. This has been the story of Flacco's career.

One week he is great and we are talking about whether or not he is elite, and the next week he stinks it up. With that said, I believe Flacco has a good showing this week at home where he is 28-5 for his career.

3. Rob Gronkowski will have a big game for New England.

When I said Brady will not have a great game, I was not talking about the number of yards he will throw for. It is very possible that the Patriots' signal-caller will throw for a lot of yards, but points is what matters.

Brady will be able to move the team up and down the field, and several of those will go to Gronkowski, especially with the injury to Aaron Hernandez.

A week ago, Baltimore had a very difficult time covering Brent Celek, the tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles. While Celek is good, he is no Gronkowski.

The Ravens left the middle of the field wide open against Philadelphia, and I do not see them correcting their mistakes in one week.

Prediction: The Ravens win 27-21



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