The AFC boasts a couple great match-ups and this one is probably the better match-up of the 2. Anytime the New England Patriots are in the playoffs you know they’ll be well prepared and that they will play well. Baltimore is no slouch either. They are a team that plays their best football in the playoffs.
So, something has to give. And the Patriots are at home so that’s an advantage. However, the Pats will be without Wes Welker. Welker is the security blanket for Tom Brady. Without him there will be some problems for this offense against the Ravens defense.
Throw in the fact that Brady is nicked in a few different places (finger and ribs) and this could quickly become a game that is out of reach for the Pats.
Now, you can expect the Ravens to do everything in their power to get to Brady. They better be careful because Brady always gets roughing calls even when they aren’t deserved. However, something tells me that the Ravens would trade a couple 15 yard penalties for a chance to take Brady out of the game. Look at how the Ravens beat the Titans last year in the playoffs. They took out Chris Johnson on a dirty play where they bent him backwards after the whistle.
I do think the Ravens will do their job and I wouldn’t be surprised if Brady doesn’t make it much past halftime. But the Ravens offense better protect the ball when they have it. The Pats defense will have a good plan. They’ll try to shutdown the run and force Flacco throw the ball on third and long. But I don’t think they’ll be very successful with stopping the running attack of McGahee and Rice. But it will be a lot of fun to watch and see which unit imposes their will on the other.
So, I am taking the Ravens to win this game. A reasonable score would be something like Ravens 24 and the Pats 16.