The NE Patriots Lose AFC Championship Game to Baltimore Ravens, 28-13
It will be the San Francisco 49ers vs the Baltimore Ravens for the Super Bowl, Sunday, Feb. 3 and B98.5 will have all the action live!.
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AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.; 6:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS
Baltimore visits New England in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game, which the Patriots won, 23-20 by the Patriots. In that game, placekicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal attempt with 11 seconds left that doomed the Ravens. Cundiff was replaced this season by rookie Justin Tucker, whose 27-yard field goal as time expired lifted Baltimore over New England, 31-30, in Week 3 of the regular season. Last week, Tucker’s field goal in the second overtime gave Baltimore a 38-35 win over Denver.
Quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice lead the Ravens’ offense. Baltimore is at its best when Rice and Bernard Pierce are rushing effectively enough for the opposing defense to overplay the run, allowing space downfield for receivers Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. Pierce may not play after aggravating a knee injury against the Broncos. Flacco has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions in the Ravens’ two playoff wins this postseason. Baltimore must keep the pressure off Flacco, who isn’t very mobile.
The Patriots may try to expose the Ravens’ offensive line, which is without injured left guard Jah Reid. New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is a Pro Bowl-level run stopper. Defensive backs Aqib Talib and Devin McCourty excel, but they will be challenged by Smith and Jones. The Patriots defense ranked ninth against the run during the regular season, but it allowed an AFC-high 271.4 passing yards per game.
No quarterback has won more postseason games than the Patriots’ Tom Brady (17). The only time Brady seems vulnerable is when the opposition gets pressure on him. Running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are emerging offensive talents, but receivers Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and tight end Aaron Hernandez pose the greatest down field threats. New England will be without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who broke his forearm in last weekend’s win over Houston.
The Ravens defense has been vulnerable to the pass in its two playoff victories, but they have come up with turnovers which have led to wins. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata can be disruptive on the line. Linebacker Ray Lewis, who will retire when Baltimore’s season ends, is leading the team by example. He has 30 tackles so far in the postseason. Cornerbacks Corey Graham and Cary Williams will be tested by Brady. The Ravens must generate more pressure than the Texans did on Sunday when they were picked apart for 457 yards of offense and 41 points.