Every so often there comes a point in time in every man’s life to choose between fight and flight and for Tom Brady’s New England Patriots offense that time has come again. As well all know, for the past decade, there has been a great rivalry between Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots and with Peyton Manning injured all season long, many believe there aren’t any rivals left in the NFL that can take a stand against the high powered, well prepared New England offense, but they would be surely mistaken. Although not as popular, the rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots these past couple years has been just as great and I believe the winner of this AFC Championship game will be the winner of Super Bowl XLVI.
Opposed to fighting for clock control the entire game against the Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots will be fighting for every yard they can get against a stingy Baltimore Ravens defense while the Ravens will try to keep up. The Ravens secondary can be suspect at times letting up big pass plays but they know how to make plays on the ball as their front 7 applies constant pressure and the different looks the Ravens bring confuse opposing quarterbacks. The last two times these teams met Tom Brady threw five interceptions! The Patriots still won one out of two of those games played but unsurprisingly, each game came down to which team made the most mistakes. Two years ago the Ravens beat the Patriots in the AFC Wild Card round 33-14. The Ravens confused Tom Brady with overload blitzes and blitz bluffs all day long. Brady threw three picks that game while Joe Flacco only had ten pass attempts. The Baltimore Ravens ran the ball over 40 times that game and the rest is in the history books. During the regular season of 2010, the Patriots went pound for pound with the Ravens and came out on top 23-20 in an overtime win. Ray Rice was limited to only 88 yards on 28 attempts that game opposed to the 159 rushing yards on 22 attempts in the AFC Wild Card game. This year, Tom Brady’s postseason quarterback rating is 137 while Joe Flacco’s is 97. During the regular season, Brady’s quarterback rating was 105 while Joe Flacco’s was only 80! The plan for the Patriots attack against the Baltimore Ravens offense becomes quite clear: contain Ray Rice. Containing Ray Rice for four quarters isn’t an easy task and neither is staying poised in the pocket against a superb Ravens defense all day long, but it can still be done. This game is going to come down to the wire as both teams want to win just as badly but I think the Ravens somehow manage to come out on top. I think the Ravens want to get Ray Lewis another Super Bowl win before he retires and that is why I think the Ravens come out on top. I like the Ravens to upset the Patriots at home 27-24.