Commentary

Five bold predictions for this week

Updated: September 26, 2011, 11:14 AM ET
By Adam Jones | ESPNBoston.com

1. Beckett makes it two straight

The Orioles have had their way with Josh Beckett so far this season, but I expect that to come to an end on Monday. True, Beckett is just 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA in three starts this year against Baltimore, but he's 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 career starts at Camden Yards. I'm going with the larger sample, which means the Red Sox will win consecutive games for the first time since taking both ends of a doubleheader from the A's back on Aug. 27.

2. Ortiz fails to reach 30

On one hand, David Ortiz is due: He hasn't homered since Sept. 7. On the other hand, he has underwhelmed in 82 career games in Baltimore, batting just .250 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs. The 14 home runs are the fewest he's hit in any divisional opponent's ballpark, trailing Toronto (29), Tampa Bay (25) and New York (22). I say he finishes the season stuck on 29 homers.

3. Expanded role for Ridley

Patriots rookie running back Stevan Ridley was one of the few bright spots in Sunday's loss to Buffalo. He carried seven times for 44 yards (6.3 yards per carry) against the Bills, which comes on the heels of an impressive preseason. Meanwhile, BenJarvus Green-Ellis continues to be invisible, with just 104 yards through three games. The Patriots drafted two running backs for a reason -- because they weren't sold on Green-Ellis -- which leads me to believe that Ridley will get a longer look this weekend in Oakland.

4. Seymour sacks Brady

Richard Seymour has already compiled 2.5 sacks through the season's first three games. He had 5.5 last season, en route to his sixth career Pro Bowl appearance. The guess here is he'll be fully motivated in his first appearance against his former club on Sunday in Oakland.

5. Patriots 28, Raiders 24

Their franchise-record streak of 11-straight regular season games with 30 or more points comes to an end, but the Patriots get back in the win column.

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