The AFC Championship Game is a rematch from last season and is filled with all kinds of storylines.
In last year’s game the New England Patriots were barely able to escape with a hard-fought 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens outplayed the Patriots and had a couple of late game mistakes cost them a trip to the Super Bowl.
The Ravens beat the Patriots 31-30 back in Week 3 of this season with rookie kicker Justin Tucker nailing a 27 yard field goal as time ran out. That game was played with the replacement referee’s and had some questionable calls. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was so mad that he ended up going after one of them after the game ended and drew a hefty fine from the NFL.
The Ravens have that team of destiny look about them and after seeing how they got past the Denver Broncos last week I don’t know what else to say. They seem to be on a mission to send LB Ray Lewis off to Canton with another Lombardi Trophy.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco is playing great football so far this postseason with 613 passing yards with 5 TD and 0 INT. Flacco torched the Patriots for 382 yards back in Week 3 and went over 300 yards in last year’s AFC title game.
The Patriots are 17-6 in the postseason during the Belichick / Tom Brady era including 1-1 against the Ravens. Brady hasn’t played very well against the Ravens in those two playoff meetings with only 2 TD and 5 INT combined.
One thing that could help take the pressure off Brady is the Patriots high-powered rushing attack. The Ravens have had some trouble stopping the run at times this season.
The last three games between these two teams has been decided by a combined seven points. I’m expecting this game to be more of the same and wouldn’t be surprised to see it go down to the wire again.
I’d usually pick Brady and the Patriots to win this game at home, but something in my gut tells me that Ray’s ride will be taking him to New Orleans before heading to Canton.
My Pick: Ravens 24-23