Just when you think it’s time to bury them, they rise up and upset a good Ravens team. That was a masterful coaching job by Bill Belichick. — Pete Prisco
Yep, a masterful coaching job by coach Belichick and a terrific game all-around in lousy conditions. No fans allowed? No argument here. The deluge and violent wind gusts made it just fine cheering on the home-team from home.
What I will argue with are suggestions that the weather conditions were a big reason the Ravens lost. Please. We all know John Harbaugh would’ve been out on that field in a heartbeat, hands up in protest, if even a fraction of an inch of rain fell heavier on the visitor’s side of the stadium than the Pats’. But no, that didn’t happen. The situation was the same for both teams and every player had to play through it. New England simply handled it better, and had fun with it at the same time.
The Patriots’ biggest excuse for winning could be found in the trenches. Solid performances from the offensive line and the front seven made everything run smoother on both sides of the ball. Nice to see the youngsters making plays too. Watching them contribute gives a good feeling, not only for this year, but looking ahead years to come.
Next up the Patriots travel to Houston to face the 2-7 Texans. A 1:00 pm time-slot will be a nice change. That ledge I was out on last week won’t be quite so small, as the Pats are favored this time (2.5 points). I never expect an easy game —is anything easy in 2020? — but I’m picking the Pats to win and cover on Sunday.
Around the AFC East:
Buffalo Bills (7-3) - Bye Week
16th - Consensus (Bleacher Report): If the New England Patriots turn their season around and keep their string of consecutive playoff appearances intact (a streak that dates back to 2008), we may well look at Sunday night’s win over the Baltimore Ravens as the game that turned the tide. In a driving rainstorm, the Pats leaned on their running backs and a bit of trickeration to get the W. Young running back Damien Harris continued his solid season, piling up 121 yards on 22 carries. Rex Burkhead added 66 total yards and two scores, including one on a trick-play throw from wideout Jakobi Meyers. The New England defense also kept Lamar Jackson and the Ravens run game under wraps, allowing only 115 yards on the ground. The Pats still have a ways to go before the playoffs will be in sight. They’re still two games out of the seventh seed in the AFC, and more than half of their remaining games are against teams that presently sport a winning record. But next week’s trip to Houston appears to be a winnable game that would get the Pats back to .500. One step at a time. [LW: 21]
16th - Albert Breer (SI): Uh oh, the Patriots aren’t dead yet. [LW: 23]
16th - Nate Davis (USA Today): Get to know the name J.C. Jackson, a corner with a league-best six INTs – including one in a team record five consecutive games. [LW: 26]
17th - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): Damien Harris will be a key figure for the Patriots the rest of the way. He had 121 yards on 22 carries against a tough Ravens defense. He’ll carry a lot of the load in what will be a run-heavy offense. [LW: 20]
17th - Mark Maske (Washington Post): There’s still a long way to go for the Patriots to put this season back together. But the win over the Ravens was impressive and undoubtedly gratifying. Don’t ever give up on a Bill Belichick-coached team. Cam Newton played well, and RB Damien Harris remained productive. [LW: 22]
17th - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): Just when you think it’s time to bury them, they rise up and upset a good Ravens team. That was a masterful coaching job by Bill Belichick. Would you expect anything less? [LW: 17]
17th - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): The Terminator isn’t dead until it’s been dismantled, melted down, and turned into a line of wristwatches. [LW: 23]
17th - Mark Schofield (TouchdownWire): I will admit, picking the New England Patriots to win Sunday night was a bit of the homer, Patriots fan in me creeping out. But circumstances came together for New England to pull off the upset against the Baltimore Ravens. Weather can be the great equalizer in the sport, and it was on Sunday night. With conditions raw and brutal in Foxborough, particularly in the second half, the Patriots were able to get out to a 23-10 lead and ice it away down the stretch. Don’t look now, but the New England offense might be figuring things out. Cam Newton has not thrown an interception the past few weeks, they seem to have discovered their next piece in the backfield with second-year running back Damien Harris, and the Jakobi Meyers is becoming a go-to target for Newton in the passing game. Is it enough for the Patriots to make some noise down the stretch? Perhaps, perhaps not. But for one week at least, New England fans are believing again. [LW: 23]
17th - Staff (AP Pro32). [LW: 21]
17th - Dan Hanzus (NFL.com): A narrow victory over the Jets on Monday Night Football followed by an impressive upset win over the Ravens at soggy Gillette Stadium has revitalized the Patriots’ season. The latest conquest was a total team effort: Cam Newton was smart and efficient in terrible conditions, Damien Harris led a rushing attack that bullied Baltimore’s injury-depleted front seven, and the defense never let Lamar Jackson make impact plays to swing the game. The Patriots are a team with a ceiling — they’re not special like they once were — but at 4-5, you get the feeling they just might hang around in the AFC playoff picture. This is a team with a brilliant head coach, savvy veteran quarterback and elite offensive line — teams have won with less. [LW: 21]
17th - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): Cam Newton and the running game have been revived to carry the offense with finally a healthy wide receiver stepping up in Jakobi Meyers. The defense is hurting in several areas and ineffective in others, but credit Bill and Steve Belichick for overcoming with improved scheming to keep the team alive in the wild-card race. [LW: 22]
17th - Justin Leger (NBC Sports Boston): The Patriots stunned the Ravens with a 23-17 victory on Sunday Night Football. The question is whether it’s more of a sign of the Pats improving or the Ravens not being as great as we thought they were. Perhaps both? That’s two straight victories for New England heading into its Week 11 matchup vs. the Texans. [LW: 19]
18th - Danny Kelly (The Ringer): The Muddled Middle. [LW: 23rd]
18th - NFL Nation (ESPN): What would they take back: Cam Newton’s fumble at Buffalo If the ball was in the quarterback’s left hand or simply better protected, the Patriots at least would have tied the Week 8 game with a short field goal (if not win it) late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots’ record would then possibly be flipped to 5-4, and they would be 3-0 in division play. That marked the third game this season the Patriots had lost in the fourth quarter when trailing by one score with a chance to win. [LW: 21]
18th - Peter Botte (NY Post). [LW: 19]
AVG. RANK: 17.0 [last week: 21.4]