Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/23/12

The Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots meet Sunday night in a must win game, so to speak. These two teams know each other well. One is known for being smug, brash and trash talking. The other is known for CIA type behavior, covert operations and an overall disdain for public shows.

Last January, Baltimore let their chance to get to the Super Bowl literally get knocked out of their hands. In contrast, New England took the right to go by going toe to toe with the bruising Ravens, and came out on top.

And now, we come to the rematch, with both teams at 1-1. It's safe to say that this is as much of a must win game for both teams. Going down to 1-2 and suffering a conference loss could affect either team down the stretch.

Did we mention they don't like each other? There are many things to look at, but here are our key points...

60 Max's key pressure points

Yo Ref! - Baltimore has been obsessed with the replacement refs. They have been vocal, and that means they’re in their heads. That's a huge advantage for the Patriots as they are the masters at taking teams’ heads out of a game. If Baltimore starts watching the refs, expect the Patriots to take full advantage.

No Uggs of Suggs - Tom Brady doesn't have to worry about Terrell Suggs this time around, so can he get comfortable in the pocket like a nice pair of Uggs? The Patriots have to get back to having Brady feeling safe in the pocket. Suggs being out is the first step.

Rice, Rice, baby… - He's the guy to stop for the Patriots. He can run, catch and block. He's the leader on the offense, the battery so to speak. If rice gets going, it'll be a long day for the Patriots. They can't let him get to the edge, the Patriots are too stout up the middle. The linebackers will be keeping tabs on him with Jerod Mayo the likely candidate to cover Rice out of the backfield.

Waiting in the Reeds (Ed Reed that is) - Ed Reed may be the greatest safety in modern day football. Belichick would sever his right arm for his services. Reed covers an insane amount of space, and is always in position to make a game breaking play. The concerns of Brady being protected is raised because if he let's an errant pass float Reed's way, it's getting picked.

No huddle, No way - The young Patriots defense will see a similar offense in Baltimore's no huddle offense. Brady is the master at running the no huddle, and the Patriots defense should have a solid game plan against whatever the Ravens throw their way.

  Three and out
  • Oh brother where art thou - For the second time this young season, a Patriot will face his brother on the opposing team. First it was Devin McCourty against twin brother Jason; today we have rookie Chandler Jones squaring off against his older brother, third-year DT Arthur.
  • Pees payback - With Chuck Pagano leaving to take the Colts head coaching job, former Patriots DC Dean Pees in now the man in charge for the Baltimore defense. Pees left New England after the 2009 season insisting he was not fired. Whatever you call it, the bottom line was his contract was not renewed. He claims he left for personal reasons; nothing less, nothing more. And yes, he wants to win this one against Belichick for again, personal reasons. "I won't lie about that and act like it's just another game," Pees said. "It's a big game for me."
  • Not fine and dandy from last week's game against Arizona: Jerod Mayo’s hit on a defenseless Early Doucet cost him $21,000, DB Steve Gregory was also fined $7,875 for hitting Todd Heap while he was out of bounds.


For Degenerate Gamblers Only

Odds: The Patriots come into Baltimore without being favored for this contest. Current line: Ravens by 2.5 pts / O/U 45 pts.

  • Patriots 10-0 ATS in September games when playing a non-division opponent after suffering a loss.
  • Ravens 14-2 ATS in September games as a home favorite by single digit points. 

Officiating: 68-year-old Bruce Hermansen. His recent claim to fame: giving the Seattle Seahawks an extra timeout in the closing seconds of their eventual 20-16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Weather: Clear 66, wind: WNW @ 6mph

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