Some have compared the 2019 Patriots defense to the 1985 Bears. Eagles coach Doug Pederson sees similarities between New England and another historic defense: The 2000 Ravens.
“It is an interesting conversation, and you can obviously draw some parallels with those two defenses,” Pederson told reporters on Wednesday. “I think the biggest thing that jumps out to you right now, the glaring thing, is the turnover ratio. I mean, the fact that they’ve got six defensive scores this season, the interceptions, the fumbles they’re causing — it’s a brand of defense where they just smother you. They just corral you. They’re OK with giving you two, three, four yards, but they’re right on top of you. Their secondary is that way aggressively and their front seven are that way. And that’s something I think when you look back, if I remember correctly with that Baltimore team, the same structure, the same style of defense. It was a smothering style of defense, and they played fast and they played aggressively. They may not do a whole lot schematically, and I think that’s a positive because it does allow your guys to play free, and to play fast and to play smart. I think that’s a similarity that I see with this Patriots defense today.”
Pederson has one other specific recollection of the 2000 Ravens, whom he faced as a member of the Browns: “I think I cracked my ribs in that game.”
The Ravens beat the Browns that day, 44-7. The Eagles will try to do at least slightly better against the Patriots on Sunday.