The top two seeds in the AFC will go head to head to see who will represent the conference in the Super Bowl.
The New England Patriots stomped the Denver Broncos Saturday night. The Broncos had no answer for Tom Brady and that passing attack all game long as the Patriots' defense was able to play disciplined football and shut down the creative rushing attack of the Broncos.
The Baltimore Ravens took advantage of the Texans' turnovers and pulled out a close one 20-13. The Ravens' defense looked strong for the majority of the game, but the offense struggled against Houston's defensive unit. While it was a nice win for the Ravens, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Matt Schaub been healthy.
The Ravens will travel to New England for the first time in the postseason since knocking the Patriots out of the wild card round in 2009.
Both of these teams are very familiar with the postseason and should make for a great matchup of two very different styles.
At the start of the postseason we had the four top ranked passing offenses in the league still alive. Heading into conference championship weekend, there is only one remaining.
That team is the New England Patriots.
The Patriots will face the toughest defense they have in weeks in the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore is ranked fourth overall in passing defense and second in rushing defense. They finished as one of the top defensive units in the NFL.
However, they haven't faced an elite passing offense like the Patriots since Week 15 when they played the San Diego Chargers.
The result of that game?
A loss for the Ravens 34-14.
The only other time the Ravens faced a top 10 passing offense was against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the Steelers passing game is nowhere close to what the Patriots' passing attack is.
The Ravens rushing defense also showed some big holes when taking on Arian Foster. The Patriots don't have a running back nearly as talented as Foster, but they do have a group of backs that are specialized for certain situations during the game. The rushing game could be a factor, but have no doubt that this one will come down to Baltimore's ability to stop the passing attack.
Baltimore's offense was less than impressive against the Texans.
While the Texans are one of the best defensive teams in the league, the Ravens may have lost this game had it not been for the four turnovers by Houston. A bone-headed play by Jacoby Jones on a punt return and three awful picks gave the Ravens the edge in this one. They were able to put up 14 of their 20 points off of turnovers.
You can be sure that Tom Brady will not be making some of those throws that T.J. Yates was making on Sunday.
Joe Flacco has not thrown for over 200 yards since the Ravens' loss to San Diego. He only topped 200 in that one because they were down by so much. Meanwhile in wins against the Browns and Bengals, Flacco was unable to put together impressive performances.
It has appeared that everyone has been able to have success against the Patriots' secondary this year. Yet, the Patriots' defense has been able to limit the amount of points scored against them.
Ray Rice is clearly the Ravens most dangerous weapon, but the Patriots' rushing defense has been solid this year. Rice is going to have an impact, but only as long as the game is close.
The last thing Baltimore wants to have happen is this game turn in to a shootout.
Joe Flacco is a solid quarterback, but asking him to go score for score with Tom Brady is completely unreasonable. The Ravens defense will have to get pressure on Brady and force turnovers to give their offense a chance to put points on the board.
Otherwise, it could be an extremely long day for the Ravens' offense.
I'm taking the New England Patriots in this one 27-17.
Tom Brady is going to give that Ravens' defense trouble and continue his hot streak from the Broncos game. The game will come down to Joe Flacco having to pass his way to victory and I don't see him pulling through, even against a weak secondary.
As much as people may hate to see it, Tom Brady will be heading to his fifth Super Bowl appearance.