Yahoo Sports NFL senior writers Terez Paylor, Charles Robinson and Kimberley A. Martin select games this week that will leave us buzzing heading into Monday.
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
The Patriots are rolling at 8-0, as Bill Belichick is treating the 2019 season like a head coach with a maxed-out coaching tree in “Madden.” Nevertheless, this is a dangerous game for New England, even though the Ravens prefer to run the ball, and the Patriots' run defense ranks fourth in pro football.
That means Lamar Jackson is going to have to throw to win, and it almost assuredly won't be to his security blanket, tight end Mark Andrews. Expect Belichick to take him away and force Jackson to hit others consistently. If he does, Jackson will get a signature win to boost his MVP candidacy.
Patriots at Ravens
Nine weeks into the season, the Patriots’ defense gets its toughest test. Specifically, figuring a way to stop Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who presents a versatility that should tell us a lot about the discipline of New England’s front seven. Few teams have stopped the dedicated running of Jackson this season. Look no further than a Seattle Seahawks teams that threw everything at stopping Jackson and failed miserably in a 30-16 loss last week.
Conversely, it will be interesting to see the continued development of Baltimore’s secondary with the addition of Marcus Peters, who paid immediate dividends against Seattle with a touchdown return off an interception.
One way or another, we’re going to find something out about the Patriots in this game — whether their undefeated start was a product of an easy schedule, or if this defense is every bit as good as advertised
Patriots at Ravens
The Patriots defense has been manhandling opponents since Week 16 of the 2018 season, but this week, Bill Belichick is preparing for his toughest matchup in Lamar Jackson.
His playmaking ability presents a unique challenge for a defense that is allowing only 7.6 points and 85.2 rushing yards per game this season. But consider this: Jackson — who, to this point, has been the top quarterback of the 2018 draft class — is averaging 82.3 rushing yards per contest.
His top-flight speed makes defenders look silly. His strong arm means the Ravens are always a Hollywood Brown play away from breaking open a game. And, above all else, Jackson is a proven playmaker who can take over when the game’s on the line.
But his counterpart, Tom Brady, is the GOAT for a reason.
If the Patriots can contain Jackson and Brady gets the ball out quickly to Julian Edelman and James White early and often, the Patriots should be able to push their winning streak to an impressive nine straight.
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