How the Ravens Can Beat the Patriots

Simple--Never punt.

I might go a step further and say, "Never kick a FG" (unless it provides a lead in the final 3 minutes of the game).

What do they have to lose?

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8 Responses to “How the Ravens Can Beat the Patriots”

  1. Brian Burke says:

    One more point: On defense BAL has one of the best run defenses in recent history, giving up only 2.8 yds per rush (NFL avg is 4.1). But their pass defense has been poor, giving up 6.7 yds per pass att (NFL avg is 6.1). To me, this disparity indicates their scheme may be way out of balance.

    The Patriots are a very average running team, so why not make the nickel or dime the base formation? I'm sure there are other ways to lean heavily towards defending the pass too.

  2. Brian Burke says:

    Just noticed this at Wages of Wins posted just today. Via a link to a Gregg Easterbrook piece at, it looks like there is a high school that employs the never punt strategy.

  3. Tarr says:

    I thought that FO guest column was fairly sloppy, but of course the idea of punting a lot less is a good one, especially when playing against a great offense. I would suggest still punting in 4th and long situations on Baltimore's half of the field.

    Accuscore's suggested strategy is: Go for it on fourth-and-4 or less from anywhere on field, even deep in your own territory; go on fourth-and-7 or less inside the opponent's 45; go on fourth-and-10 or less inside the opponent's 33 (except that inside the opponent's 33, attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter if a field goal causes a tie or gives you the lead).

    Gregg Easterbrook suggested slightly more conservative tactics: Inside your own 20, punt. From your 21 to 35, go for it on fourth-and-2 or less. From your 36 to midfield, go for it on fourth-and-3 or less. From the opposition 49 to opposition 30, go for it on fourth-and-4 or less. From the opposition 29 to opposition 3, go for it on fourth-and-3 or less. From the opposition 2 or 1, go for it. Exception: inside the opponent's 25, attempt a field goal if it's the fourth quarter and a field goal causes a tie or gives you the lead.

  4. Tarr says:

    As far as the Pats running goes: are you sure it is below average? I thought their YPC was actally quite good. Of course, it's not on par with their passing game, but that's hardly a knock.

    The idea of adjusting your defense to the opponent's team strength is a good one, of course. You can't overdo it though - I'm reminded of the GB/Minnesota game, where the Packers' previously anemic running game ran all over the Vikings vaunted run D.

    The "blueprint" talk after the Eagles game was overblown, but the one thing we definitely learned is that jamming the receivers to disrupt the timing is a helpful strategy.

  5. Brian Burke says:

    Totally agree. The math in the article is not thought through at all. I don't see where he factors in the field position gained by the opponent when the 4th down try fails.

    But the idea is more than worth considering.

  6. Tarr says:

    Brutal game.

  7. Derek says:

    The Patriots are middling when it comes to yards per carry on offense and defense. 11th on offense, 20th on defense.

    Plus, LT Matt Light has been abused in a couple of games this season. Though the Pats have a very low sack rate allowed, their pass protection does seem vulnerable.

  8. Tarr says:

    I've heard people argue that the Patriots tackles aren't too special; it's their interior line that's great. This jives with my visual memory - the few sacks they've suffered have been from the edge, and Brady freqently steps forward in the pocket (an area created by the interior three) when pressure comes.

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