Freeplays NFL Picks: Patriots vs. Ravens

Senior Handicapper Matt Rivers of has a free pick Sunday comp winner is on the Ravens (+7.5) to New England.

I can’t in good conscience make a big play against the Patriots in New England because they are clearly the better overall team and have the potential against anybody to win by a big number.

Tom Brady is phenomenal and still as good as they come and the tight end play with Gronkowski and Hernandez is dominant. But Bill Belichick’s defense is lacking and even if Joe Flacco has been getting a ton of criticism due to a pretty underachieving season I can see Flacco, Ray Rice and the rest of the Ravens control the clock enough to stay in this game. Baltimore’s offense isn’t very good but after playing a ton of high quality defenses this season including the Steelers, Bengals and Texans twice today should come a little easier. The Pats did bottle up Tim Tebow and the Broncos but Denver still is offensively challenged when all is said and done and I don’t take all that much from that spirited effort by New England.

Matt Rivers handicapper

The original Matt Rivers tackles the Patriots vs. Ravens winner

Brady is going to make some plays and put up points, I would never doubt that. But his team is still one that trailed the Dolphins by 17 at the half a month ago and was losing to a bad Buffalo team 21-0 in the first quarter the next week before going nuts and rallying in the win and cover. Comebacks can happen against mediocre teams like the Bills and Dolphins but Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and today’s visitors are still somewhat stout and formidable. They are getting longer in the tooth and Reed is banged up but it’s still a Baltimore defense that will bring it.

Before last week’s games the line on this potential match-up was literally only 3 ½ and I saw that with my own eyes. I always say don’t look too much into one game and if I follow that theory then this line suddenly rising another almost four points is just absolutely crazy. Yes the Pats looked better than the Ravens but give Houston some credit as that defense with JJ Watt, Jonathan Joseph and Brooks Reed is no joke.

If the Ravens can get some pressure on Brady then we really could be looking at an outright and another recent disappointing New England postseason. That may not happen and the Pats may get some revenge for that embarrassing postseason blowout loss a few seasons ago but covering a touchdown against what is still a very good defense, even on the road, is a bit much and therefore I’ll take my chances fading Brady and backing the stout Ravens.

Top expert pick on this game: Baltimore

For more information: One NFL 300,000* play and one NFL 300,000* winner. You will see some ‘cappers make important games like today’s their “one and only” and “biggest game ever” and blah, blah, blah. To be honest neither game is truly worthy of that. All four teams are stout in their own way and we really shouldn’t see a lopsided contest in the end. But I do like one side in this game by the Bay and am going to cash that ticket as I do many, many more times than I don’t. 300,000* Giants-49ers for all the marbles. Click now to purchase



About the Author

Matt Rivers has been a champion handicapper for years at a previous outlet and left for a new challenge once again proving he is the best in the business, bar none. Matt received a Bachelor of Arts from a top 20 college, Emory University in Atlanta, and has worked at two major television networks covering both pro and college sports. A thorough knowledge of the sports world combined with personal gambling experience along with years of professional handicapping has helped mold Mr. Rivers into the rock solid consistent winner that he is today.

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