Patriots vs. Ravens: Predictions for New England's Week 3 Game

FOXBORO MA - OCTOBER 17: Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots chases Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens in the first half at Gillette Stadium on October 17 2010 in Foxboro Massachusetts. The Patriot won 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

This week's Sunday night football match-up won't only just feature a rematch from last year's AFC Championship game, but it will feature two teams that are coming off of their first loses of the season and will look to get back to heading in the right direction.

Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens will play host to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots this Sunday night and there's no doubt that this is going to be one exciting match-up.

Both teams are considered to be the best of what the AFC has to offer—and quite frankly, these two teams could very well end up meeting yet again in this year's AFC Championship, if all goes well for both sides.

With that being said, I'll like to introduce a new feature that I'll be doing each and every week of the season: Here are my predictions for New England's Week 3 match-up against the Ravens.

1. Julian Edelman will record more receptions than Wes Welker

This past week against the Arizona Cardinals, we saw Julian Edelman start ahead of the All Pro wide receiver Wes Welker, as he finished with five receptions for 50 yards while Welker recorded five receptions for 95 yards.

This week, I believe it's going to be a different story for New England's slot receivers—I see Edelman having a breaking out game on the NFL's biggest stage.

2. Julian Edelman will record 100-plus receiving yards

With no doubt in my mind, I firmly believe that the Patriots are clearly steering away from Wes Welker and looking towards the future with Julian Edelman. With that being said, Edelman will come up huge for the Pats Sunday night.

Edelman has definitely been getting the longer end of the stick when it comes to playing time compared to Welker, but his numbers haven't been all that impressive, as he enters Week 3 with six receptions for 57 yards—but I see those numbers increasing greatly after this week.

Edelman is finally going to capitalize on the opportunity that he's been given and will shred Baltimore's secondary for more than 100 receiving yards.

3. Tom Brady will throw more interceptions than Joe Flacco

Just two seasons ago, it seemed like Tom Brady could never be intercepted as he set the NFL record for 335 consecutive pass attempts without being picked off.

Nowadays, Brady has become more human, if you will.

Throughout Brady's four career regular season games against Baltimore, he's been rather pedestrian-like. No. 12 has a career 77.9 quarterback rating against the Ravens while completing just 56.3 percent of his passes for four touchdowns while being picked off three times.

Sunday night, I see Brady adding to his interception total against the Baltimore, as I'm predicting that he'll finish the day with more picks than his counterpart Joe Flacco.

4. Stevan Ridley will run for 75-plus yards

I'm not too sure that Stevan Ridley is quite ready to make the jump and accumulate 100-plus yards against the very tough and physical Baltimore defense, but I do see the second-year running back having a solid day.

Ridley enters Week 3 with 196 rushing yards as he's been averaging 5.0 yards per-carry as well as 98.0 yards per-game.

The LSU product's production will take a little dip this week against Haloti Ngata and Baltimore's run defense, but I still do see him finding some sort of success.

5. Ray Rice won't be a factor on the ground

It might be hard to believe, but New England's defense is actually the No. 2 ranked defense for total defense entering Week 3—that's no joke, I'm being serious.

With that being said, New England's run defense will continue to have success Sunday night in Baltimore as they'll contain running back Ray Rice.

Entering Week 3, the Patriots are allowing just an average of 2.6 yards per-carry and that will most definitely affect Baltimore's stud running back.

6. Joe Flacco will throw for 300-plus yards

Joe Flacco has been pretty productive throughout the first two weeks of the season, but Baltimore's starting quarterback has yet to have a 300-yard passing game—but that will change against New England's secondary.

Entering Week 3, the Patriots are allowing a solid 202.0 passing yards per-game, but keep in mind that they've only squared off against Jake Locker and Kevin Kolb—definitely average at best quarterbacks.

Flacco is far from being average—in fact, he's on the brink of emerging as an elite quarterback.

As Flacco will not throw more interceptions than Brady this week, he will also accumulate a stellar 300-plus yards passing as he'll pick up the slack for the struggling Ray Rice.

7. Rob Gronkowski will find a way to score a touchdown

With Aaron Hernandez being sidelined with an ankle sprain, much pressure will fall onto the shoulders of Rob Gronkowski.

The last time these two teams met back in the AFC Championship game, safety Bernard Pollard kept Gronk in check as he held him to five receptions for 87 yards with no scores—but that will change this weekend. Gronkowski will find a way to score a touchdown despite having so much extra attention on him.

Final Prediction: New England: 27 Baltimore: 24

This game is going to come down to the wire as both sides are so evenly matched. The only reason why I have the Pats walking away with a victory is solely because they're a top tier team in the NFL. What I mean by that is they have found ways to win in the past, whether it's pretty or ugly—they simply find ways to when, especially in the regular season. As for the Ravens, they're not quite there yet. Granted, I label them as a second tier team, but these guys haven't made enough plays in the past to make it to previous season's Super Bowls—so why should I think that they'll find a way to win Sunday night against Bill Belichick and the Patriots?

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