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Game Preview: Patriots travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens

Posted Dec 17, 2013

The New England Patriots (10-4) will travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens (8-6) this Sunday at 4:25pm ET at M & T Bank Stadium.

Patriots (10-4) at Ravens (8-6)
Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 at 4:25 p.m. ET
M & T Bank Stadium (71,008)

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The New England Patriots will play the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday in a rematch of the last two AFC Championship Games when they travel to Baltimore for their final regular season road trip of the 2013 season. The Patriots beat the Ravens, 23-20, in the 2011 AFC Championship Game, but Baltimore got revenge with a 28-13 win to advance to the Super Bowl in the 2012 AFC Championship Game. Both games were played in the confines of Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots can clinch their fifth straight AFC East title and qualify for the playoffs for the 21st time in their 54 year history with a win this week against Baltimore. It would also be the 15th playoff berth in the 20 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths the team earned in its first 34 years of existence.

Bill Belichick has led the Patriots to 10 division titles and needs one more to tie Don Shula for the most division titles since the 1970 NFL merger with 11. Belichick will be looking for his 11th 11-win season as a head coach, behind only Don Shula (13). Tom Brady will be looking to add on to his NFL record with his 11th division title. His 10 division titles are the most by a starting quarterback in NFL history.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle playby- play duties with Phil Simms providing color. The game will be produced by Lance Barrow and directed by Mike Arnold.

NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by Sports USA. Larry Kahn and Ross Tucker will call the game. Troy West will work the sidelines

RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 37 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis.

BELICHICK LOOKING FOR HIS 11TH WIN OF THE SEASON
A victory over Baltimore will give Bill Belichick his 11th win of the season. Belichick is currently tied with Tom Landry with 10 11-win seasons, including nine with the Patriots.

NFL HEAD COACHES WITH THE MOST 11 WIN SEASONS
Don Shula, 13
Bill Belichick, 10
Tom Landry, 10

BRADY LOOKING FOR HIS 11TH DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Tom Brady will be looking for his 11th division championship this week. Joe Montana and Peyton Manning are behind Brady with nine division titles.

Quarterback Career | Division Titles
Tom Brady, 10
Peyton Manning, 9
Joe Montana, 9
Brett Favre, 8
Terry Bradshaw, 7
John Elway, 7

SERIES HISTORY

The Patriots and Ravens have squared off seven times in the regular season and three times in the postseason, including the last two AFC Championship Games, since the Baltimore franchise was founded following the Cleveland Browns' move to Baltimore in 1996.

This week's game will be the second straight regular-season meeting in Baltimore between the two teams. Last season, the Ravens erased a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to claim their first regular season win over New England in a 31-20 victory on Sept. 23, 2012.

The teams met for the second straight postseason in the 2012 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 20, 2013, with Baltimore getting revenge for the 2011 AFC Championship loss with a 28-13 win to advance to Super Bowl XLVII.

The Patriots and Ravens played in their first postseason meeting following the 2009 season with Baltimore taking a 33- 14 win in a Wild Card matchup at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 10, 2010. The Patriots avenged that loss in the 2011 AFC Championship Game with a 23-20 victory over the Ravens at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 22, 2012 to advance to Super Bowl XLVI.

The Patriots are 6-1 all-time against Baltimore in the regular season, including 2-1 in games played in Baltimore.

The first meeting between the teams came during the Ravens' first season in Baltimore, when the Patriots prevailed 46-38 on Oct. 6, 1996. The 84 total points scored by both teams in that game rank as the second-highest total number of points in a game in Patriots history to the 86 points in a 43- 43 tie with Oakland in 1964.


PATRIOTS VS. RAVENS PREDECESSORS
From 1970-83, the Patriots faced the Baltimore Colts 27 times, posting a 12-15 record in those games. The Colts moved to Indianapolis prior to the 1984 season and Baltimore was without an NFL team until the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens in 1996. Prior to the move, the Patriots were 4-11, including the postseason against the Browns, with a 2-4 record against Cleveland while Bill Belichick was the Browns' head coach from 1991-95.

PASSING PERFORMANCES
Tom Brady is slated to start against the Ravens in the regular season for the sixth time in his career and for the ninth time overall. Brady is 4-1 against the Ravens in the regular season and 1-2 against them in the postseason. Brady suffered his first regular season loss to Baltimore last season in a Sunday Night game played in Baltimore on Sept. 23, 2012.

CONNECTIONS

New England Ties
  • Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta is a native of Taunton, Mass., and graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
  • Ravens Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks is a native of New Bedford, Mass., and played guard on the University of Massachusetts football team from 1970- 1972. Brooks also spent five years at his alma mater as the defensive line coach from 1976-80.
  • Ravens Senior Defensive Assistant Steve Spagnuolo is a native of Grafton, Mass., and attended Springfield (Mass.) College, where he played wide receiver on the football team. Spagnuolo has held assistant coaching positions at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Maine.
  • Ravens Defensive Quality Control Coach Matt Weiss is a native of New Haven, Conn., and played football and baseball at the Hopkins School in New Haven.
  • Ravens Assistant Head Coach / Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg coached the secondary at Boston College for two seasons from 1997-98.
  • Ravens SS James Ihedigbo is a native of Northampton, Mass., and attended Amherst (Mass.) High School before going on to play safety at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 2002-06.
  • Ravens SS Jeromy Miles also played safety at UMass Amherst and overlapped for one season with Ihedigbo, joining the team from 2006-09.
  • Ravens CB Corey Graham attended the University of New Hampshire and started all four seasons at cornerback for the Wildcats.
  • Ravens FB Kyle Juszczyk played tight end at Harvard University and was a unanimous all-Ivy selection his senior year in 2012.

Baltimore Ties
  • Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick began his NFL coaching career with the Baltimore Colts as an assistant to Head Coach Ted Marchibroda in 1975.

Family Ties
  • Patriots DE Chandler Jones' older brother, Ravens DE Arthur Jones, was drafted by the Ravens in 2010 and is in his fourth season with Baltimore. Sunday's game marks the third time the siblings will meet in an NFL contest.

Former Patriots
  • Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees was with the Patriots for a total of six seasons, serving as linebackers coach from 2004-05 before being promoted to defensive coordinator from 2006-09, where his defense set a franchise record for points allowed per game (14.8) during the 2006 season.
  • Ravens SS James Ihedigbo was acquired by the Patriots at the beginning of the 2011 season and played in all 16 regular season games, starting in 12 contests and recording a career-high 69 tackles before signing with the Ravens in 2012.

Former Ravens
  • Patriots Special Teams Coach Scott O'Brien served as the special teams coach in Baltimore for three seasons from 1996-98.

Former NFL Teammates
  • Patriots WR Austin Collie teamed up with Ravens TE Dallas Clark for three seasons (2009-11) on the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Clark was also teammates with Patriots CB Aqib Talib and RB LeGarrette Blount during the 2012 season on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich was teammates with Ravens FB Vonta Leach during the 2006 season on the New Orleans Saints.
  • Patriots DT Sealver Siliga and Ravens OLB Elvis Dumervil were teammates for two seasons from 2011-12 on the Denver Broncos.
  • Patriots OL Dan Connolly was teammates with Ravens LB Daryl Smith for two seasons (2005-06) on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Former College Teammates
  • Patriots DE Chandler Jones was teammates with his older brother, Ravens DE Arthur Jones, during the 2009 season at Syracuse University.
  • Patriots DB Devin McCourty teamed up with Ravens RB Ray Rice for two seasons (2006-07) at Rutgers University.
  • RB LeGarrette Blount and Ravens TE Ed Dickson were teammates for two seasons (2008-09) at the University of Oregon.
  • Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower was teammates with Ravens OLB Courtney Upshaw for four seasons (2008- 11) at the University of Alabama. NT Terrence Cody joined the pair at Alabama for two seasons from 2008-09.
  • Patriots DL Joe Vellano and Ravens WR Torrey Smith were teammates for two seasons (2009-10) at the University of Maryland.
  • Patriots RB Brandon Bolden was teammates with Ravens T Michael Oher during the 2009 season at the University of Mississippi.
  • Patriots WR Austin Collie and Ravens TE Dennis Pitta were teammates for three seasons (2004, 2007-08) at Brigham Young University.
  • Patriots LB Brandon Spikes was teammates with Ravens WR Deonte Thompson for two seasons (2008-09) at the University of Florida.
  • Patriots T Nate Solder was teammates with Ravens CB Jimmy Smith for four seasons (2007-10) at the University of Colorado.
  • Patriots WR Aaron Dobson and Ravens S Omar Brown were teammates for three seasons (2009-11) at Marshall University. Ravens LB Albert McClellan joined the pair at Marshall during the 2009 season.
  • Patriots DB Nate Ebner and Ravens OLB John Simon were teammates for three seasons (2009-11) at Ohio State.
  • Patriots LB Chris White was teammates with Ravens DE Pernell McPhee for two seasons (2009-10) at Mississippi State University.
  • Patriots LS Danny Aiken and Ravens T Eugene Monroe were teammates for two seasons (2007-08) at the University of Virginia.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR AGAINST THE RAVENS

BILL BELICHICK
  • Bill Belichick has led the Patriots to 10 division titles and needs one more to tie Don Shula for the most division titles since the merger with 11.
  • Belichick will be looking for his 11th 11-win season as a head coach, behind only Don Shula (13).
  • Belichick is 49-9 (.845) in December with New England, the best record in December among head coaches with one team in NFL history (min. 25 games). George Seifert is second (27-6, .818).

TOM BRADY
  • Tom Brady (146) needs one more win to tie Dan Marino (147) for the fourth-most wins in NFL history by a starting quarterback.
  • Brady will be looking for his 11th division championship, the most by any NFL quarterback. Joe Montana and Peyton Manning have nine division titles.
  • Brady to throw for 300 yards for the fifth straight week and match his personal record of five straight 300-yard games in a single season that was done in 2009.
  • Brady has 23 touchdowns in 2013 and needs to average 3.5 in the final two games for his 5th 30-touchdown season to join Brett Favre (9), Peyton Manning (8) and Drew Brees (6) as the only NFL players with at least five 30-touchdown seasons.
  • Brady (352) needs 48 completions in the final two games to reach 400 completions for the season. Drew Brees (5), Brady (2), Manning (2) and (2) are the only players to have at least two seasons with 400 completions.

AARON DOBSON
  • Aaron Dobson (35) needs nine receptions to move past Deion Branch (43 in 2002) for the most receptions by a rookie receiver for the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era. Dobson's 492 yards are the most by a rookie receiver under Belichick. Dobson moved past Branch, who had 489 yards in 2002. Dobson's four touchdowns are tied with fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins for the most by a Patriots rookie receiver under Belichick. Chad Jackson had three touchdowns in 2006.

JULIAN EDELMAN
  • Julian Edelman needs one more punt return for a touchdown to set the team mark with his fourth punt returned for a touchdown. He is tied with Irving Fryar and Troy Brown with three returns for a touchdown.
  • Edelman has 89 receptions in 2013 and needs 11 more to join Wes Welker (2007-09, 11-12) and Troy Brown (2001) as the only Patriots players to reach 100 receptions in a season. Edelman is averaging 6.4 receptions per game in 2013.
  • Edelman has 914 yards receiving in 2013 and needs 86 yards to become the 10th Patriots player to register a 1,000-yard season.
  • Edelman (3,573) needs 38 all-purpose yards to crack the top 20 in Patriots team history.

STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
  • Stephen Gostkowski has scored in a team record 105 consecutive games and needs to score at least one point against Baltimore to extend that mark.
  • Gostkowski (32) has his second season with 30 or more field goals and needs four more field goals in the final two games to match his franchise record of 36 field goals set in 2008. His 32 field goals are tied with Tony Franklin for the second most in team history in a single season.
  • Gostkowski has made 23 straight fourth quarter field goals.
  • Gostkowski (998) needs two more points to become the third Patriots player with 1,000 points, joining Adam Vinatieri (1,158) and Gino Cappelletti (1,130).

KENBRELL THOMPKINS
  • Kenbrell Thompkins (466) needs 37 yards to pass Wes Moore for the most receiving yards (502 in 1995) by a Patriots rookie free agent. Thompkins already has the most touchdowns by a Patriots undrafted rookie (4) and needs 12 receptions to tie Moore for the most receptions by a Patriots undrafted rookie receiver.

TEAM
  • The Patriots can earn their fifth straight AFC East Title with a win on Sunday. It would match the five straight the Patriots won from 2003 through 2007 as the longest streak in AFC East history.
  • A Patriots win can extend their NFL-best December record with a win at Baltimore. The Patriots are 47-7 in the month of December since the 2001 season. The next best team is Philadelphia with a 38-18 record.