The New England Patriots host their hated rivals the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday Jan 20, for the AFC Championship Final. The Patriots beat the Ravens during last season’s AFC Championship game 23-20, at home. But, the Ravens won this year’s matchup 31-30, at home, in Week 3. Who are the favorites to win the AFC Championship? NFL oddsmakers have the New England Patriots listed as -9.5 point home favorites over the Ravens, thus winning the AFC Championship. Let’s preview each team heading into the AFC Final. Get the current 2013 Super Bowl Betting Lines now.
The Ravens will be in the AFC Final for the third time over the course of the last four years, but they have never made it to the Super Bowl under head Coach John Harbaugh. There are a lot of problems for the Ravens this year on both sides of the ball. The offense came out on fire this year, but in the end, this unit really did turn out to be the same old Baltimore offense. The team will only go as far as RB Ray Rice takes it, though Flacco is playing some of the best ball of his career here in the second season. He has exceeded 600 total yards and has five touchdowns so far in the postseason. The Ravens defense has been on the field a ton in the playoffs, taking 87 snaps in each of the first two games of the second season. This unit ranked in the 20s for most of the year in most of the major yardage categories, and LB Ray Lewis is out to make sure that that doesn’t remain the case here in the AFC Championship Game.
Last week I was 5-3 ATS with my free NFL Divisional Round selections so make sure to get my AFC Championship Final Game Picks before kick off and be sure to check out my free current Super Bowl Picks! Let’s preview the teams that sat out the first round of action.
The Patriots have accomplished a ton this year, but they have had a lot fall into place as well. They are ultimately going to have a relatively soft trip to the Super Bowl this year, knowing that they ended up not having to play in Wild Card weekend, drew a struggling Houston Texans outfit in their first playoff game, and then got the Ravens at home instead of the Denver Broncos on the road.
Including the playoffs, QB Tom Brady now has thrown for 5,171 yards and 37 TDs against eight picks, and he has thrown five TDs without an interception in his last two games. His top target in the red zone, TE Rob Gronkowski is out of the fold for the rest of the year, but WR Wes Welker is coming off of a game in which he caught eight passes for 131 yards. RB Shane Vereen and RB Stevan Ridley combined for four touchdowns and over 200 total yards from scrimmage against Houston last week. The team has had some problems defensively though, and last week was no exception. The Texans racked up 425 yards of offense against the Patriots, and that marked the fifth time this year that they allowed at least 28 points.
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Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots
When: Sunday, Jan 20, 2012@6:30 PM ET
Pick: Patriots -9.5
The Bottom Line: The Patriots could have the worst defense in the league, and the Ravens still wouldn’t be able to match the Pats on offense. We recommend you check out the latest NFL Point Spreads heading into the AFC Championship Final.