Patriots vs Ravens: 5 Keys to a New England Victory and AFC Championship Title

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Patriots vs Ravens: 5 Keys to a New England Victory and AFC Championship Title
Elsa/Getty Images

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will face off against Joe Flacco's Fu Manchu and the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday in Gillette Stadium for the AFC Championship game at 3PM EST.

The Ravens beat the Houston Texans 20-13 on Sunday in an ugly game at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore benefited from a Jacoby Jones muffed punt in the first quarter, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 7-3 lead, and never looked back.

Brady and the Pats offense have a ton of momentum coming into next weekend's contest after demolishing the Denver Broncos Saturday night, 45-10, while setting a few offensive records along the way. 

Baltimore will have their hands full with New England, and will certainly need a better effort from Flacco (who completed just 14 of 27 passes) next week if they intend to keep up with the Pats' offensive attack.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff will need to find a way to slow the Baltimore run-game, led by Ray Rice. The last time these two met in the playoffs, Rice gashed the Pats defense for 159 yards rushing on just 22 carries, including an 83-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.

New England is pretty heavily favored in the game (7.5), but they will need to execute in these five areas if they want to come away with a victory as well as a chance at a Super Bowl title in Indianapolis.

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