AFC Championship Game: Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots

19

Jan 2013

POSTED IN Matchups | no comments

AFC Championship: Ravens @ Patriots Sunday, Jan. 20, 2012 6:30 p.m. ET

After a thrilling double overtime victory over the number one seed Denver Broncos last week, the season and career of superstar linebacker Ray Lewis continues with the Baltimore Ravens advancing to the AFC Championship game for the second straight year. Although big underdogs in the game against the Broncos, the Ravens were able to prevail against arguably the best team in the NFL. No one believed that the Ravens could come into Sports Authority Field at Mile High and get the best of the red-hot Broncos led by four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning. Baltimore was considered nothing more than a stepping stone for Denver with it only being a matter of time before the Broncos would get out to an insurmountable lead. Unfortunately for the Broncos, the Ravens had no intentions of flying back to Baltimore without having advanced to the next round. Joe Flacco stepped up for the squad with a 70-yard game-saving touchdown pass that forced the first overtime and ultimately was the difference in the game with the Broncos decided to simply kneel down on their next possession and take their chances in overtime. Now that the Broncos are officially knocked out of the postseason and the Ravens have advanced, Baltimore may have an even tougher task ahead on Sunday going up against the New England Patriots. Last season, the Patriots were also able to reach the AFC Championship game and eventually advance to the Super Bowl for a fifth time in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era in New England. The Patriots were able to slightly get the best of the Ravens in the championship game, 23-20. This time around, the Ravens are hoping to pull off a miracle for a second straight game in the playoffs while avenging the loss to New England from a year ago. Although many have doubted this Baltimore squad and for good reason considering the late-season collapse, the Ravens appear to be a team with a newfound sense of purpose heading into this game at Gillette Stadium with many different storylines. Obviously, the main motivation for this team is advancing to the Super Bowl and finally winning a title, but Lewis will also play a major part in the team’s motivation moving forward with the hopes of sending him off with a second title. At this point in time, the Ravens are underdogs once again with a +9 point spread. Although it appears that the Patriots will come out on top in this game, I believe it will be a much closer game than anticipated.

Prediction: Ravens +9

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