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December 22, 2013

Pats will beat Ravens today - I guarantee it

The New England Patriots are going to win today. I can pretty much ... sort of ... guarantee it.

Mind you, this is not to be confused with a blowout or a convincing victory. In fact, I’m guessing a field goal or two-point conversion will be the difference, at most.

Today’s game at 4:30 p.m. (on CBS, Ch. 4) is basically a playoff game. If the Patriots happen to lose and Miami wins, then next week’s game against Buffalo is a playoff game.

That’s OK, you know, the playoff-like atmosphere.

The point is the Patriots are experienced in “playoff” games. They’ve been playing them almost since opening day in Buffalo.

The “playoff” games I’m referring to are close, defensive-oriented, loud and usually decided in the last few minutes.

They are not the 34-13 games we’ve become accustomed to the last decade with Tom “Peyton” Brady.

This year, though, has been different. It seems every week a top talent is put on the injured reserve list and things look grim. And field goals are the difference between winning and losing.

I like/love the Patriots for a few reasons today.

Here are five of them:

Pats doubters are inspiring

The irony is it hasn’t happened much since the Patriots won three of four Super Bowls at the beginning of the 21st century. The Patriots, led by Bill Belichick and Brady, are almost always favored. In fact, when the Patriots were winning Super Bowls, they did it the underdog route each playoff run versus the Colts and Steelers. Well, the Patriots are being doubted big time (ESPN experts are 10-for-10 with Ravens today). This is when Belichick and Brady usually do their best work.

Ravens aren’t all that

The Ravens are scary, particularly their guile and mental (and physical) toughness. Despite losing their two cornerstone stars, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, they have finally started playing like they did last year. But last year and really for the past four years, the Ravens have been able to play with balance on offense. Not any more. They rank 29th in rushing yards per game. They can’t bully the Patriot defense like they have in past years. This all-pass/no-run offense fits into Belichick’s defensive game plan.

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