NFL Playoff Schedule 2012: Patriots vs. Ravens Will Be Best Playoff Game
Regardless of who you want to win, this game will be as entertaining as any other game this postseason. The two teams have such a clash of styles, there haven't been too many entertaining games so far and they're the two best teams left.
The clash of styles will be the most interesting thing to watch.
The Patriots' offense is a well-oiled machine. Tom Brady is doing his best to solidify himself as the best quarterback of this era, and he's doing a pretty good job of it.
Even without a consistent running game, Brady has been tearing defenses apart all year. The Pats aren't as dominant as they looked last week, but their offense is the best one remaining.
Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker are all having great years. Gronkowski is setting records, Hernandez is taking over when needed and Welker is doing what Welker does.
On the other side of the ball for the Ravens, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are in charge of one of the best defenses in the league. In fact, they have been a part of one of the best defenses in the league for more than a decade now.
The Ravens will do all sorts of things to put pressure on Brady, jump the short passes and contain Gronk. As a result, this could be a 15-catch game for Welker.
He will be getting open, and he will be even more dangerous if the Ravens sell out to stop the tight ends. Welker will get plenty of catches. His success will depend on if those catches are for five yards or 15.
Another reason this will be the best postseason game is that there haven't been too many good games.
Other than the Tim Tebow miracle and Alex Smith renaissance, none of the games have been remotely entertaining. Both of those games will be remembered, but they aren't instant classics.
Enter this game.
The Patriots and Ravens have been two of the best franchises in the league since the millennium. Since 2002 (division restructure), they have 11 division titles and 14 playoff appearances between them.
Now, they meet again in the playoffs to decide which team represents the AFC in the Super Bowl. The stakes are higher than ever, and this game will live up to the hype.
What will be remembered as the best game from the 2012 NFL Playoffs?
Accordingly, it will easily trump the other boring games we've seen so far.
The biggest reason this game will be the best of the postseason is they're the best two teams remaining; on paper at least.
They are the top two seeds for a reason, and they have played well all season.
The Green Bay Packers were the best team all season, but they didn't show up to the playoffs. The New York Giants are playing well, but they are not up to these teams' levels (not to say they can't still elevate).
The San Francisco 49ers are playing well, but they forced five turnovers last week and they barely won. That won't happen every week.
The 49ers have been the most complete NFC team all year, but they still don't quite match up to the Patriots or Ravens.
Therefore, when simply looking at the teams, it is clear that the two best teams are battling in Foxboro on Sunday, which usually leads to a great game.
So, with the clash of styles, lack of an impressive precedent and the two best teams remaining going toe-to-toe, the AFC Championship game will be the best playoff game this year.
Baltimore at New England: 3 p.m. EST Sunday, January 22
New York at San Francisco 6:30 p.m. EST Sunday, January 22
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