The New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens are preparing to meet in a highly anticipated AFC Championship contest for the second year in a row.
Last season, the Ravens faltered due to Sterling Moore’s strip of Lee Evans in the end zone, and Billy Cundiff’s shanked 32-yard field goal that would have tied the game.
All those players are now gone, meaning this year’s matchup promises to be even better and will feature some new faces—along with the old stalwarts.
Keep reading to find out where to catch the action, how to bet on it, an updated injury report, a prediction on the final score and more.
When: Sunday, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Live Stream: NFL Audio Pass
Listen: 97.9 ROCK (Baltimore) or WBZ 98.5 FM (New England)
Point Spread: Patriots -9 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
Historically, Baltimore has matched up well with New England, but you can throw the past out the window when these two meet in the AFC Championship for the second straight year.
The Patriots are simply better in nearly every facet of the game and should have no problem handling business against the Ravens on Sunday. They are firing on all cylinders and had no problem putting up 40 points on a tough Houston Texans defense for the second time in approximately a month this past week.
While we’d ideally love to see a back-and-forth battle, we think the Pats win this one in blowout style. Lay the points here and take the vastly superior team.
Over/Under: 51.5 (via ScoresAndOdds.com)
If you’ve been betting the NFL all season, you know it’s practically free money when taking the Patriots over. We don’t predict that changing with the stakes raised, as they proved last week that they can score on anyone in bunches.
While the Ravens are unlikely to concede as many points, we still see this one going well over the lofty 51.5-point total and would recommend anyone wagering to lean towards the O.
Key Injuries (via USA Today)
Ravens: T Jah Reid (Toe, OUT)
Patriots: RB Danny Woodhead (Thumb, PRB), DE Chandler Jones (Ankle, QST), TE Rob Gronkowski (Forearm, OUT)
Ravens Player to Watch: Ray Lewis
This could be the superstar linebacker’s last hurrah, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave it all out on the field.
The 17-year veteran is an absolute machine who seems to only get better with age, and it would be shocking if he didn’t make a play in this AFC Championship Game. While it would be great to see Lewis back in the Super Bowl to end his career, we just don’t see this Ravens team pulling out another miraculous win after last week’s double-overtime thriller.
Patriots Player to Watch: Tom Brady
Brady has once again reclaimed the mantle as best quarterback in football and he would cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all time by winning on Sunday and finally capturing the fourth Super Bowl that has been eluding him for years.
However, the Pats take things one step at a time, so we’d be surprised if the future Hall of Fame signal-caller was concentrating on anything but this upcoming matchup against a bitter rival.
He’s going to need to play his best—as he did last week against Houston—in order for New England to reach the “Big Game” for the second straight season.
Prediction: Patriots 35 - Ravens 24
This should be a close game in the beginning, but New England is going to break late and blow it wide open.
While rivalry games between two squads that despise one another are often close, we just can’t see the Ravens hanging around for long against one of the most complete football teams in years.
When Sunday comes around, the Pats are winning big and heading back to the Super Bowl.