Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco has 11 interceptions through 12 games in 2016 and he’s on pace for the most pass attempts in his career. Outside of a 22-interception disaster in 2013, Flacco has thrown between 10 and 12 interceptions in his other eight seasons as a starter, so he’s likely going to post the second-most interceptions in his career.
The New England Patriots defense wants to be the ones to push Flacco over the edge, and they think there will be opportunities to pick off an errant pass or two.
“[Flacco’s] definitely going to give his guys a chance,” Patriots FS Devin McCourty said. “I think he knows what he can do on the field. He has a very strong arm. I think all the good quarterbacks, there have probably been times where they’ve thrown an interception and are like, ‘I thought I could get that in there,’ and I think that’s a part of what makes them good quarterbacks.
“You know, having that moxie about you that you want to try to make a play or that you believe in yourself, you believe in your guys that you’re throwing the ball to. He has a good amount of weapons to get the ball to so he’s definitely going to give his guys a chance to make some plays and they’ve shown that they’ve made them. We’ve got to definitely cover guys but also be ready down the field to go up there and challenge them and make our own plays.”
Flacco is known for chucking the ball deep down the field and drawing a defensive pass interference. If the Patriots can come down with the football instead of getting penalized, then the Ravens offense will likely stall.
The Patriots have forced turnovers in 2 straight games after failing to record a takeaway in 16 straight quarters. McCourty and the rest of the Patriots defense will be ready if opportunities come their way.
“I think we’ve done a good job the last couple weeks, even before those two games, of just attacking the ball and really just trying to hit that and talk about it every day and do it in practice.,” McCourty said. “There are times where we’re close, we don’t get it in practice, there’s times where we’re ripping at the ball and it doesn’t- but you get in the game and it’s a mentality now you just keep doing it and those turnovers will come. So I think it’s something that we’ve been focusing on, we’ve got to continue to focus on, keep doing it at practice and hopefully it shows up on Sundays, or in this case, Monday.”
Turnovers come in bunches, as the saying goes, and the Patriots are finally converting on their opportunities. Outside of those possible interception chances, the Ravens do a fairly good job of protecting the football. If the Patriots defense is going to tip the scale of the game, they’ll need to be ready to attack the ball.