As Lamar Jackson bets on himself, is his first monster performance against the Patriots on the way?

With a slight head nod and a faint trace of a smile, Bill Belichick told reporters on Wednesday that Lamar Jackson had answered the pre-draft questions about his game.

“Without a doubt,” Belichick said. “It’s the type of the player, the MVP type of candidate. I think he’s more than answered them. But, we’ll see what his contract is, that will answer them.”

Still, the two-time Pro Bowler doesn’t have the guaranteed money that he wants. He placed a $250 million bet on himself by declining the Ravens’ offer earlier in September for a contract extension.

After a brutal loss to Miami, when the Dolphins outscored Baltimore 28-3 in the fourth quarter, the stage is set in Foxborough for a big game against a team the Ravens have gone 4-11 against since 1996.

Jackson has shown over the years that he’s one of the most dynamic talents in the NFL, but he’s never dominated New England the way he has other teams.

With the extra motivation to secure a new contract, could he end up torching the Patriots for the first time on Sunday?

Below average performances against New England

The sample size for Jackson’s performances against New England is small. It’s just two games.

Jackson went 17-for-23 for 162 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots during his 2019 MVP season. He picked up a pair of rushing touchdowns, but it was still a below average performance by his standards. Yet, it was enough for the Ravens to beat the Patriots by three scores.

The Patriots won in 2020, the last time Baltimore and New England met. Jackson’s quarterback rating in that game was 59.8, roughly half of the 120.1 passer rating Jackson has through his first two games this season.

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His statline was 24-for-34 for 246 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and an interception. The Patriots held him to 55 rushing yards and no rushing touchdowns.

He’s never scored more than three total touchdowns or rushed for more than 61 yards against the Patriots.

He rushed for 119 yards and scored four touchdowns last week as the Ravens scored 37 on a Dolphins defense that held the Patriots to seven points in the season opener.

Patriots defense gets best test yet against a quarterback

The Patriots defense has been stout so far, ranking fourth in net yards allowed per game (275) and eighth in points per game (17).

But they haven’t faced a quarterback quite like Jackson yet.

Dolphins QB Tagovailoa has never lost against New England and threw for six touchdowns last week, but he hasn’t shown that he can perform like that on a regular basis.

Mitch Trubisky didn’t pose much of a threat against the Patriots last week.

Sunday’s matchup with Baltimore will be intriguing. Belichick praised Mark Andrews as one of the best tight ends in the league. Rashod Bateman has emerged as Jackson’s top target in the first two games.

The Ravens have yet to show that they have much of an effective rushing attack outside of Jackson, who has 143 of the team’s 218 rushing yards.

Sunday’s game will a big test for the Patriots defense, and an equally big one for Jackson.

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