A roundup of NFL experts' picks for Sunday's game between the Ravens and New England Patriots.
* Vinnie Iyer at the Sporting News says the Ravens will beat the Patriots, 24-20.
The Ravens swept the Patriots last season, including their impressive victory in the AFC title game at New England. They still match up well against Tom Brady, and this one’s back in friendly Baltimore. The Ravens’ defensive backs are outstanding in covering and make quick tackles after the catch, and don’t need to contend with Rob Gronkowski, setting them up to keep Brady from overworking the middle of the field.
Offensively, the Ravens can’t run, but are getting more comfortable just going no-huddle with Joe Flacco, especially with a healthy Dennis Pitta as a security blanket underneath. Look for both teams to go up-tempo, with the Patriots running out of time and falling short of a road comeback.
* Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com says the Patriots will win, 23-17.
The Ravens impressed with a tough road victory Monday night in Detroit. But this is a short week against a Patriots team coming off a loss. They don't lose consecutive games too often. They won’t here either. Tom Brady will do enough to find a way to win.
* CBSSports.com's John Breech is picking the Patriots, too, because "Tom Brady is really good at this revenge thing."
In 2006, Tom Brady lost in the playoffs to the Colts. The next year, Brady got revenge and beat Indianapolis in the regular season. In 2009, Brady and the Patriots got eliminated from the playoffs by the Ravens. The next year, Brady got revenge and beat the Ravens in the regular season. In 2010, Brady and the Patriots lost to the Jets in the playoffs. The next year, Brady got revenge and beat the Jets in the regular season. Apparently Tom Brady is really good at this revenge thing.
* Even so, half of CBSSports.com's eight NFL experts are picking the Ravens to win.
* On ESPN.com, 11 of 13 analysts pick the Ravens to win. Ron Jaworski and Tom Jackson did not make a pick.
* For Showtime's Inside the NFL, Cris Collinsworth picks the Ravens, guest host (and former Pittsburgh Steeler) Franco Harris picks the Patriots and Phil Simms abstains.
* Four out of five analysts at NFL.com pick the Ravens to win.
NFL rankings roundup
* CBSSports.com's Prisco has the Ravens at No. 12 in his latest NFL power rankings, up one spot from last week.
That was a big-time victory on the road against the Lions. Justin Tucker: Team MVP.
* Former Ravens coach Brian Billick moves the Ravens up one spot, to No. 11, in his FoxSports.com NFL power rankings.
With the win on Monday night, the Ravens maintain the sixth seed as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Dolphins, who also have an 8-6 record.
* Pro Football Talk moved the Ravens up three spots and has the team inside the top 10, at No. 8.
Great teams find a way to win in December.
* ESPN.com moves the Ravens up two spots, to No. 12.
What a day for Justin Tucker, tying a franchise record with six field goals. Baltimore is the second team to win this season without scoring a touchdown.
* The Ravens are No. 14 in Elliot Harrison's NFL.com power rankings, up one spot from last week.
Can the Ravens do it again? You'll recall that last year, they lost four of their last five regular-season games ... and still won the AFC North before going on their Super Bowl run. Now Baltimore must beat the Gronkless Pats and then take down the Bengals in Week 17 (unless Matt Cassel impersonates Joe Montana again and leads the Vikings to a win in Cincinnati this Sunday).Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun