Coming off a 27-13 win over the Cleveland Browns, the New England Patriots will enter their Week 9 showdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium as a slight favorite. Despite their 8-0 mark, Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has tabbed the Patriots as a slim 4-point betting favorite over the Ravens, according to Nick Goss of NBC Sports. At BetMGM, the Patriots are just 3.5-point favorites over the Ravens, who lead the AFC North with a 5-2 mark. The point spread is the lowest for the Patriots since they were tabbed as a 5.5-point favorite over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1.

The Patriots won that game by a huge margin, 33-3. In their first eight weeks, the Patriots are 6-2 against the spread. The Patriots are in for a tough one against the Ravens, who are well-rested following their Week 8 bye. Also, the Ravens boast of a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in Lamar Jackson.

Belichick calls Ravens hard-nosed team

In a conference call with reporters, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick called the Ravens a “tough, hard-nosed football team.” “Well-balanced, very good in the kicking game, physical on defense, physical running the ball, stopping the run, covering kicks, very good specialists,” Belichick said of their Sunday’s opponent. Belichick, who recently notched his 300th coaching win in the NFL, praised Ravens head coach John Harbaugh for building a solid program, keeping Baltimore competitive in a tough division such as the AFC North.

In a recent interview, Belichick admitted that Jackson will be a problem for the Patriots defense with his combination of speed and throwing ability. “He’s very fast, and he’s definitely a hard guy to handle,” Belichick said of Jackson, who has 576 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 83 carries this season. However, Belichick and the Patriots have a perfect 14-0 record against second-year signal-callers since 2013.

This season, the Patriots limited Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns, Sam Darnold of the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins’ Josh Allen to just one touchdown pass and forced them to commit eight interceptions.

Brady expects ‘hell of a game’

Veteran quarterback Tom Brady, for his part, expects “a hell of a game” when they take on the Ravens and Jackson, who is in his second year with the Ravens.

“It’s going to be tough,” Brady explained, saying the Ravens are playing for everything in an effort to keep their hold on the NFC North. Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema acknowledged that the Ravens present a huge problem for his wards. “It’s a very formidable task and one that’s got our full attention, obviously, and our preparation as we go into the week,” Bielema said. The defensive line coach also admitted that Jackson is a tough matchup, especially with his speed, but he assured that the Patriots defense will come prepared on Sunday. In a recent video, Brady acknowledged the defense for their outstanding play in the past eight weeks.