Boomer Esiason on GHS: Patriots ‘absolutely’ still AFC favorite after Ravens ‘wakeup call’

Andy Hart
November 04, 2019 - 7:53 am

Boomer Esiason may have been a little bit surprised to see the Patriots take their first loss of the season Sunday night in Baltimore, but the 37-20 Ravens’ victory hasn’t changed the former MVP quarterback’s assessment of the long-term hierarchy in the AFC.

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New England is still very much the team to beat come January.

“Absolutely. 100 percent. It’s a long season,” Esiason said in his weekly Monday morning appearance the Greg Hill Show on WEEI. “Yesterday was a weird day. Every team in the NFC lost. If your last name was Allen and you played quarterback you won, there were three of those. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers had their asses handed to them yesterday. The Indianapolis Colts lost another starting quarterback. So there was a lot of weird stuff happening in the NFL yesterday, including last night’s 37-20 victory by the Ravens.”

The CBS TV analyst didn’t sugar coat things for a Patriots defense that got run over for more than 200 yards by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.

“They stepped into a hornet’s nest last night,” Esiason said of the Patriots. “I’ve seen this before, especially in Baltimore. They can do that to you. With Lamar Jackson playing the way he played last night, boy he’s going to be difficult to deal with the rest of the way. That’s why Bill Belichick said earlier in the week, ‘He’s a problem.’ Yeah, he’s a problem all right. He’s about as fast as they come at the position. He’s faster than Michael Vick. I don’t know that he necessarily throws the ball as well as Michael Vick did. His running prowess is evident and everybody can see it. Even though I thought going into this game that they would have something for him that would change the way that he play, obviously they have to go back to the drawing board.

“Nobody’s seen anything like this offense. I still say when it all comes down to it it’s going to come down to having to throw the ball from the pocket when the game is on the line at some point for Lamar and the Baltimore Ravens. And they are going to have to do it in a big spot in the playoffs. This is in the middle of the season, it was a very hostile environment, there was a lot of emotion running through the Ravens. They can do that to you on a Sunday or a Monday night in their building. They do have a fast defense. But if not for maybe a Julian Edelman fumble in the second half maybe things are a little bit different. So it was a game of ebbs and flows in momentum. When you have a nine-minute or a nine-and-a-half minute drive late in a game, that kind of tells you who’s a little bit more forceful, who’s getting beat down pretty good and I would think that if you are a defensive player for the Patriots this morning, you are licking your chops because that was a pretty bad performance on their part.”

Esiason seems to subscribe to the school of thought that a loss for an undefeated team can reignite things, dispelling the “exhausting” task of winning each week in the NFL “grind.”

Though the “talking about an undefeated season” may be over, Esiason doesn’t believe the talk of this unit being maybe the best defense in Patriots history was necessarily inaccurate or overblown.

“No, I don’t think so. I think the numbers bear that out,” Esiason said. “But, again, it’s the NFL. I try to say that the other guys get paid to. And the other guys are always using the Patriots as their measuring stick. So when the Baltimore Ravens wake up this morning they are saying, ‘hey we have a pretty good team.’ John Harbaugh will use that as, ‘see guys you can beat the best there is in the business.’ I don’t think it’s that we’ve been overstating what we’ve said about the Patriots, it’s just that last night they ran into something they hadn’t seen before. Now at least they get a sense of what it’s like so if they do see the Ravens in the playoffs I think the advantage goes back to the Patriots. I don’t get crazy about these things, especially when the team is as good as New England is. But I also know that it could be a wakeup call for them. Which is a good thing.”

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