The Patriots can't spend too much time on Sunday's loss to Arizona. Baltimore, coming off its own Week 2 loss, waits impatiently in the wings.
When New England visited the Ravens last January, the team squeaked out a 23-20 AFC Championship win. Rosters and schemes have since changed on both sides and Bill Belichick believes Baltimore is now even stronger.
"They run a lot more no-huddle offense. That looks like a big part of their package. There are some different players in there for one reason or another. Some of the matchups will be a little bit different; of course thats true of us too. Some of their younger players have started to really mature and become very good players, guys that are really getting into the prime of their career, like Dennis Pitta or Ed Dickson, Lardarius Webb Pernell McPhee."
The Ravens employed no-huddle plays 22 times in Week 1's 34-13 win over Cincinnati. They amassed 430 total net yards of offense, including 299 yards passing (two touchdowns) from quarterback Joe Flacco.
The offense was clicking whether up-tempo or patient. Flacco got contributions from all over -- 103 combined yards from Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones -- as he pushed up field.
"And their tight ends too -- dont forget about Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta," said Belichick. "Those guys are very good down the field, along with their receivers, Anquan Boldin and they have guys like Ray Rice that they can hand the ball off to or throw it to out of the backfield on screens or whatever routes hes on. We all know he can take it the distance too.
"Theyre a very explosive group all the way around. They can throw it, they run after the catch, they can hand it off to one of the top backs in football. Ray Rice is a very special player and he can score from anywhere on the field on any play on a pass, cutback play, outside play, inside play, it doesnt matter what it is, he can hit the home run on you. This is a very explosive group, no question."
Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia had similar praise for Baltimore's offense. The Ravens weren't as efficient last week in Philadelphia -- Flacco threw six incomplete passes on his final, potentially game-winning drive -- but still threatened.
Is Flacco the most mobile quarterback? Hardly. But Patricia is preparing his defense for a challenge, whether Flacco gets flushed out of his spot or not.
"In general, we just have to be prepared to go out and play the situation and the call the best we can no matter what that call is. Again, this is a tough guy, extremely tough guy that can hang in the pocket and make those really good, tight throws, whether its a three-man, four-man or five-man front or a blitz, he can make all those throws. We just have to do a good job in our coverage and a good job with our calls that we have to defend him."