The competitive juices will be flowing for the Patriots when they take the field Sunday night in Baltimore.
It won’t be tough for New England to get up for this Week 9 clash. Primetime games often bring the most out of players, and the Patriots will have a chance to make quite a statement if they dispatch Lamar Jackson and Co. on their own turf. Plus, as former New England offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger explained Friday, Bill Belichick excels at motivating his team in the lead-up to kickoff.
“Listen, I sat in those meeting rooms. He (Belichick) tries to get you frothing at the mouth prior to playing a team,” Ohrnberger said on FS1’s “First Things First.” “It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad. It could be the Dolphins or it could be the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC. He’s going to make this team — he’ll only show you the highlights. He’ll make them look like worldbeaters and then come the end of the week, if anything slips through the cracks, all of a sudden that is spoken about. ‘You hear the way these guys are talking, they got the best quarterback in the league.’ And he’ll look at Tom Brady. You think Tom is going to sit there and say, ‘Well, I’m not getting outplayed by this guy.’ This is bulletin-board material. I’m telling you, the way it works there is you play like it’s you, these 53 cats against the rest of the universe. So when people give you something to sort of chew on for a couple days prior to the game, whether it’s gloating about their guys or talking bad about yours or guaranteeing a victory like we heard out of the Cleveland locker room prior to the game on Sunday, you saw how that went down.”
While the Patriots surely will be jacked up as the action gets underway at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens will be equally motivated to hand the reigning Super Bowl champions their first loss of the season. As we try to develop a real pecking order in the AFC as the second half of the season unfolds, this battle between conference powerhouses should help provide some answers.