AFC Championship Predictions: Patriots Will Win Second Straight AFC Title

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Ravens won 31-30. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens have revenge on their minds, but the New England Patriots will beat John Harbaugh's crew in the AFC Championship Game for the second consecutive year.

Don't get me wrong—the Raves are one hell of a team. They have a balanced offense, quality defense and they're riding on the emotional high of Ray Lewis' farewell tour. They destroyed Andrew Luck and the Colts, and their double-OT victory over the Broncos was an instant classic.

Unfortunately for Lewis and the Ravens, their path to the Super Bowl will be derailed in Foxboro for the second straight season.

That's mainly because Tom Brady and the Patriots are on an absolute rampage. They have won 10 of their last 11 games, and their only defeat was a 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Patriots showed their quick-strike ability in that game, dropping 31 points in the final 21 minutes.

Their high-powered offense was on display again in the divisional round, when they put up 41 points on the Houston Texans' stingy defense. Brady put on a clinic, completing 25-of-40 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns.

Of course, he was aided by the talented skill players around him. Four different receivers caught at least five passes, and Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley combined for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

With their balanced and dangerous attack, the Patriots will eventually overwhelm Baltimore's aging defense. Even without Rob Gronkowski and Danny Woodhead, Brady has a massive arsenal of weapons at his disposal.

He also has experience on his side. Brady has more postseason wins in NFL history and he'll be seeking his sixth Super Bowl appearance on Sunday.

Given that he is 11-2 in home playoff games as a starter, I like the Patriots' chances. It will be a close game, as Lewis, Ray Rice, Joe Flacco and the rest of the Ravens are too good to be blown out.

But when the clock strikes zero, it will be the Patriots who advance once again.