AFC Championship Preview: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

Fantasy GuidelineContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2012

Game Time: 3:00 EST

Weather Forecast: High of 34 with slight chance of precipitation

Spread: New England -7

Brandon Berg

Now that the Denver Broncos scare is past, it’s time for the Patriots to focus on the Baltimore Ravens. This is going to be a great game that could go either way. It’s an explosive offense against a stiff defense. One could argue that the game could be a low-scoring match-up, however, with Tom Brady on the field, there simply is no way the game is going to be in the teens. However, the main concern that comes forth when playing the Ravens is finding not one, but two players on the defense that are capable of stopping Aaron Hernandez AND Rob Gronkowski. It’s difficult enough stopping one of them.

The Raven’s defense gets plenty of praise, but their offense deserves some as well. They run the ball effectively with Ray Rice and have a home run hitter in the passing game with Torrey Smith. There have been some concerns about Joe Flacco, but he is still an above average quarterback. The Ravens are easily the more well-rounded team, but the Pats have a strength that is often unstoppable with their passing game. Like I said before, it’s going to be close, but when it’s this interesting, ask yourself this. Tom Brady or Joe Flacco? My answer is Tom Brady even though I predicted a first round loss for them to start out with…

Patriots – 34, Ravens – 31

Caleb Parkinson

I know a lot of people are going to pick New England in this one, and that’s fine. This game is on their home field, Tom Terrific is about as healthy as you can expect a starting quarterback who has carried his franchises weight all season to be, and they just finished annihilating Denver last week. Well I say, so what. Denver really was not as good as many of us thought they were and New England figured that out early on. Rob Gronkowski is an incredible talent, but if they think they can just play pitch and catch with him all game for three first half touchdowns against the Ravens, they are mistaken.

I know the Ravens didn’t exactly roll over the Texans, but let’s be honest, the Texans just weren’t gonna roll over against anyone. Arian Foster is the best running back in football right now and their defense sacked Joe Flacco five times. Am I saying that Flacco is one of the hardest guys in the league to sack? Of course not, but you don’t rack up five in game without playing great defense. The Ravens overcame the storm that the Texans brought with their own brand of suffocating defense that completely shut out Houston in the second half, as well as solid ball control on offense that kept the rock for 52% of the game. I think we will see a NY/BAL matchup for Super Bowl 46. No, I didn’t use roman numerals because I’m not Roman and neither are you!

Ravens – 30, Patriots – 28