Ravens vs. Patriots: Spread Info, Line and Predictions for 2012 AFC Championship

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens is congratulated on his team's 33-14 win by quarterback Tom Brady #12 0f the New England Patriots during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

When the Baltimore Ravens square off against the New England Patriots in Foxborough this week to decide which team will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, it won’t be a game.

It will be a war.

These are two of the toughest teams to beat in the NFL, but like the immovable object and the unstoppable force, something has to give. Even if you don’t have a horse in this race, sit back and enjoy some of the best football a fan could ask for.

BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 15:  Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on from the bench during the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore won 20-13 in regulation.
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.

When: Sunday, January 22, 3:00 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS

Live Streaming Audio: NFL.com Audio Pass ($29.99 for year, $27.99 team specific, $9.99 a month)

Listen: Sirius Satellite Radio

Betting Line: Over/Under: 50.5, Spread: New England -7.5

This is one of those games where I feel the line is right on. I have the Patriots winning a very close game that will be much lower scoring than I have seen on other sites. I expect 51 points, so I would feel comfortable going with the over or staying away from that bet in general. On the other hand, I feel the Ravens will give the Pats a solid game and should cover the spread easily.

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 1:   Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown with teammates Wes Welker #83 and Matthew Slater #18 in the second half against the Buffalo Bills  at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachu
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

What's at Stake?

A Super Bowl berth, it’s as easy as that. There is no reason to hold anything back this week, so you should expect a heavyweight fist fight on Sunday. Both teams are trying to vindicate themselves from their recent playoff failures and this is the best chance to do it.

Patriots Injury Report: NFL.com

Wes Welker, WR, Questionable

Brandon Spikes, LB, Questionable

Logan Mankins, G, Questionable

Ravens Injury Report: NFL.com

Brendon Ayanbadejo, LB, Questionable

Jameel McClain, LB, Questionable

Anquan Boldin, WR, Probable

What They're Saying

The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter page sums up what the Ravens-Patriots rivalry has become:

Patriots Football Weekly assistant editor Andy Hart is reporting what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (BB) had to say about the Ravens vaunted defense:

Patriots’ writer for ESPNBoston Mike Reiss shares an amazing stat that will decide this week’s AFC championship:

Even New York Yankees legend Dave Winfield wants to get in on the fun:

Key Matchup: Ray Rice vs. the Patriots Front Seven

While the New England Patriots are heavy favorites, there is a way for the Ravens to travel to Foxborough and shock the NFL.

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 01:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs for a touchdown during the NFL game against  the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ray Rice.

Just like the New York Giants did against the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, if the Ravens can keep the ball in their possession by running it efficiently and taking the pressure off young quarterback Joe Flacco, they can win.

That means more Ray Rice on the ground and more in the passing game as well. Get the ball to Rice in open space and the Patriots' 30th ranked defense will be planning their February golf outings in Bermuda instead of traveling to Indianapolis.

All for not, though.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Ravens 24

Check back for more on the National Football League as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s NFL Page to get your fill of all things football.


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