Did the Baltimore Ravens just give the New England Patriots a little more motivation entering Sunday night's Week 9 showdown at M&T Bank Stadium?
Ravens tight end Nick Boyle made some comments Wednesday that don't rise to the level of what you'd typically call "bulletin board material", but they still might find their way into the Patriots locker room regardless.
Ravens TE Nick Boyle on Patriots defense: "We’ll see how good they are once we play them. I don’t think they’ve seen anyone like our offense or like Lamar. They’re a good team and we’ll need to bring our ‘A’ game."— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) October 30, 2019
To be clear, nothing Boyle said here is incorrect.
We probably will get a better sense of how good this Patriots team really is Sunday. He's also correct in saying New England hasn't played against a quarterback like Ravens star Lamar Jackson, who received lots of praise from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on Monday.
Still, giving the Patriots literally anything to use as motivation isn't a good idea. We saw a similar scenario just last week when Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry had to clarify comments he made so it wouldn't look like he was guaranteeing a victory against the Patriots. Even if Landry never meant it as a guarantee, the damage already had been done, as one player told NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran that Belichick mentioned Landry's comments to the team.
The Patriots didn't need any more reason to be excited for Sunday night's game featuring two division leaders, but as we've seen a few times this season, New England's defense isn't afraid to use any slight (real or not) as motivation.
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