NFL Playoff Schedule 2012: Why AFC Championship Game Should Be a Classic
Sunday's AFC Championship Game has everything you could want in a classic football game. In includes a phenomenal offense and an incredible defense. The field will be littered with All-Pro-caliber guys on both rosters, including two of the best to ever man their positions.
And on one sideline there will be a grizzled head coach who has done it all, while the other will boast a young up-and-comer looking to make his mark.
The New England Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium, and the home team has one of the best offenses in the NFL. Led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, the Pats finished second in the NFL in total offense this season, averaging 428.0 yards per game. New England was also second in passing yards (317.8 per game) and 20th in rushing yards (110.3 per game).
Meanwhile, Brady, who long ago solidified himself as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, had another phenomenal season. He completed 401 of 611 passes (65.6 percent) for 5,235 yards, with 39 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His passer rating of 105.6 ranked third in the league.
Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have a litany of weapons at their disposal. Receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch have been great this year, while second-year tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are among the best in the NFL at their position.
On the other sideline, the Ravens ranked third in the NFL in total defense, allowing 288.9 yards per game. Baltimore ranked fourth in passing defense (196.3 yards per game) and second in rushing defense (92.6 yards per game).
Head coach John Harbaugh has linebacker Terrell Suggs playing as well has he ever has, while defensive lineman Haloti Ngata and safety Ed Reed are two of the best players in the league.
And, of course, Ray Lewis is one of the best linebackers to ever play the game.
I really can't wait to see how this game turns out.
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