The Patriots opened as 2.5-point underdogs as they travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in Week 3.
You know what I miss about this game? Terrell Suggs. Now that Bart Scott is gone, there is really only one guy on the Ravens who will say completely outlandish things that make sense nowhere outside of the Baltimore locker room. Seriously, if you read a story on ESPN something to the effect of "Suggs Says Tom Brady Should be Flayed Alive and Fed to Famished Lions," do you even bat an eyelash anymore? Or try to make sense of it? Get well soon, Terrell.
Aside from cutting the entertainment factor by approximately 100%, the absence of Suggs means that the Ravens' pass rush is a lot less imposing. It's not a bunch of kittens and puppies out there, but when an opponent's front four can't generate a big rush without blitzing, Brady can usually find success. And you just get the feeling that after a pair of substandard games to open the season, Tom is due for one of those Eff-You games with 11 TDs and a thousand yards.
Much like professional sportswriters, we've made it to third paragraph of a story about the Ravens without feeling the need to mention Joe Flacco. If the game is on the line, is there a playoff-caliber QB you trust less? It's not that he's a bad quarterback. To wit, his stats suggest a guy who is decidedly average. But he and the Ravens always seem to find a way to lose perfectly winnable games. Last week in Philly was one more example. +2 turnover margin, -1 on the scoreboard, all against a team that has been particularly adept at blowing games in their own right.
Add it all up, and this seems like one of those games the Ravens are supposed to win, but somehow blow in the end. If you're giving me points in that scenario, I'll gladly accept them. I'll take the Pats and the points.
Other Lines I Like
Bucs (+8) @ Cowboys
Aside from their late meltdown against the Giants, the Bucs have played well on both sides of the ball. And while his counting stats are acceptable, Tony Romo is approximately one-fifth as good as some folks in the media make him out to be. He's basically Mark Sanchez's big brother who porks celebrities instead of underage girls. (funny side note, when I first learned that Sanchize was dating Eva Longoria, I read the story too fast and thought they said Rays third baseman Evan Longoria ... and my first thought was "wow, I didn't know Evan Longoria was gay" without any consideration of the other guy's sexuality ... oops)
Rams (+9) @ Bears
I'd be content to bet against any team that has spent the last five days screaming at each other in the media. The fact that the Rams have exceeded expectations in the first two weeks is just a bonus. And the fact that a sports book is willing to give me two scores AND the team that isn't quarterbacked by Jay Cutler is a double bonus with gravy. If there's an over/under on the number of snaps before a fight on the Bears sideline involving only Chicago players, I'm taking the under.
2012 Record ATS 7-3
Record ATS since 2010 79-69-4