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  1. #1

    Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    One of the biggest games in Ravens' history awaits with being just sixty minutes away from Superbowl XLVI.

    The Patriots have a great record against the Ravens of 6-1 with their only loss being the memorable domination in the 09 playoffs. That does not quite tell the whole story however, as the Ravens could well be on a four game winning streak against the Patriots had errors not been made at the worst possible moment (Ryan's timeout in 2007 or Clayton's inexplicable drop in 09. Even being up by 10 points in 2010 in the 4th).

    Both teams, though, are different than the recent past.

    Brady has never managed to score more than 27 against the Ravens, though routinely hits around that mark. It is likely to be close to that again on Sunday. For the D, it's about creating any turnover they can. The dropped INTs that have been seen at times during the season won't cut it on Sunday. For me though, the key is on O. Unless Brady gets rattled early like in 09, the Patriots will score in the mid to high 20s regardless. Flacco & co. need to match that and surpass it. Luckily for them, the Patriots D is nothing to write home about, though they've not been so terrible with a couple of players returning. That said, the last time the Patriots played any team that can put up masses of points were the Eagles (who were dysfunctional this year) in week 12. The rest have been the Colts, Redskins, Broncos x 2, Bills (they can in the first eight weeks before the inevitable implosion) and Dolphins.

    Flacco has not seen a D this bad all year, the worst being Colts (25th), Rams (22nd), Cardinals (18th). Two of those three games resulted in 30 or more points for the Ravens and the other could've been if the Colts bothered trying in that game. On the other hand, below average Ds have also included the Titans and Chargers, who the Ravens did not play well against at all (on either side of the ball). Then again, the Patriots D isn't even close to either of those teams. The key will be in the redzone, the Ravens must score 7s, something which has been elusive at times this season.

    On the other hand, the Ravens have not played a top scoring offense this year, either. Only one has been in the top 10 and the Chargers gave the Ravens fits. The only other two in the top sixteen has been the Steelers and Texans who the Ravens complied a 4-0 record against and conceded 7, 14, 20, 13 against consecutively. The 20 was the only one away on the road (week 9, 23-20 W at Pit). That's hardly the whole story though, as Brady has not faced many top Ds all year either. The Patriots did dispatch the Jets twice, but fell to the Steelers convincingly and nearly lost against the Redskins (13th) and Cowboys (14th). Then other top 16 Ds faced include Dolphins and Chargers, with all three games being comfortable Patriots victories. Along with the Giants loss, it does seem that any time the Patriots has faced a team with a half decent pass rush, they struggle. That's not too much of a surprise, though - all QBs will.

    Anyway, to the predictions! Ravens are underdogs for only the second time this season with the first resulting in victory. As JJ admits, the Ravens psychologically seem to suit it. It's going to require a game at a level that we've not seen consistently this season to win. The main key is the pass rush - if that fails, it'll be a long afternoon/evening, but I feel optimistic with the Ravens upsetting the Patriots. It may be close enough that STs may decide the outcome.

    Baltimore 30, New England 27

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Owings Mills

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    Ravens 24
    Pats 21
    Hating Steeler Fans Since Birth

    Section 126, Row 33

    Lets Go Flacco

  3. #3

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    Ravens 34
    Pats 24

    I don't care what happened in Jacksonville, San Diego and Seattle.

    The Ravens will be ready. Flacco, Ray Rice and the offense will bring it. the Ravens are 15th in the league in scoring and 9 of their games were againts top 10 D's.
    Last edited by RavensRock; 01-17-2012 at 10:53 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    Pats 27
    Ravens 24

    ... but I could easily see the reverse.

  5. #5

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    Quote Originally Posted by Rayvens52 View Post
    Ravens 24
    Pats 21
    I think and hope we will see our running game get back on track even though that's the main thing that Bellichick will try to take away. If they stack the box too heavily, take away the run, and force Joe to win the game then it's going to depend on how well our O-line defends the pass rush.

    If we can give Joe time he'll keep us in the game.

    If our running game works and eats clock then I think we'll win 24-20.

    If not I think the Pats take it 27-21.

  6. #6

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    Ne 28
    bal 24

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Blog Entries

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    I've had the Ravens getting to the title game all year, so I'm gonna stick with it. I think this is really one of those games where it's a tossup as far as who is going to win, but could be a blowout in either direction.

    The numbers say that the Ravens are the better, balanced team.

    Ravens 30
    Pats 24

    Brady makes us sweat at the end.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Columbia, MD
    Blog Entries

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    This is a great analysis of teams that have been faced by both the Ravens and the Patriots.

    Jacksonville and Seattle were the biggest letdown games we had this year. The Titans game was also a letdown, but not in the same category. But the past game that worries me the most going into this weekend is the San Diego game. We had every motivation to show that we were for real on national television. We were traveling and playing on national television. And we laid an egg against a quarterback with a quick release and big targets. And, in addition, we got no pass rush. The net result was that we gave up 34 points to the Chargers.

    I am going to use that as the low-watermark baseline for what we can expect this weekend. I think the Chargers had a slightly better running game and I think that we will execute slightly better -- but I can't see us keeping Tom Brady and the Patriots to anything less than 28 points (which, as you note, is close to the average that they have been scoring against us over the past few years). If the pass rush is as anemic as it was against the Chargers, it could get worse than that -- but I don't expect us to give up 45 like the Broncos (although, truth be told, the Patriots let up in the second half -- they could have scored at least 60 if they were so inclined).

    The key will be the physical play of our secondary. Can we effectively chip their TEs at the line? Can we jam their receivers and provide enough safety help to not be exposed like the Broncos were on that Deion Branch TD in the second quarter? All of that depends on being able to rush effectively with four -- something we haven't really done since the 49ers game.

    If we keep the Patriots to about 28 to 30 points, the offense will have to exceed that. Can they?

    There were four times that the Ravens scored 30 or more this season.

    September - 35 against the Steelers
    September - 37 against the Rams
    October - 30 against the Cardinals
    November - 31 against the Bengals

    The Steelers and Bengals games were at home and were massively assisted by defensive turnovers. In the Steelers game, we forced 7 turnovers. In the Bengals game, we forced 3. We got a couple of key turnovers against the Rams -- but, to be fair to Flacco & Co., we were up 21-0 before the end of the first quarter thanks to offensive output alone. The Cardinals game was Boldin's beast game and Jameel McClain had a key interception there. Simply put, in none of our plus 30 games has the offense done it all on its own.

    If we can get to the edge, Rice can be dangerous. If Lee Evans becomes a factor, he and Torrey can open the middle up for Q, Dickson (please just catch the ball and stop creating billboard material on WNST interviews) and Pitta. That might get us 21-24 points -- if all goes well and we do not turn the ball over. But to get to the 31 points we are going to need to pull this out, we are going to need some help from the defense and/or ST.

    Bottom line, to win, we have to force turnovers. We have to take chances not just on offense, but on defense as well. If they don't pan out, Brady will carve us up. I just think too many things have to go right for us to pull it out. We have to take chances on offense and not drop the ball. We have to create turnovers on defense and not give any up ourselves. We have to do everything perfectly. If we do, I think we can win -- but nothing in life is ever completely perfect.

    I see:

    Patriots - 30
    Ravens - 21

    But I would love to be wrong. And I would love for the Ravens to pull out a Game 1 performance or a classic defensive performance as they did in Tennessee in the 2008 playoff run -- but I am just trying to be realistic.

  9. #9

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    I am about as pessimistic as I have ever been headed into a Ravens playoff game. Let's pray I'm wrong.

    Pats 30
    Ravens 16

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    Ravens win, that is all that matters. Who do the pats have to back up brady? Have a feeling we will be seeing this person.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Stuttgart, Germany

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    Ravens 24
    Pats 17

  12. #12

    Re: Predict AFC Championship Game: Ravens @ Patriots

    Ravens 28
    Patriots 27

    High drama instant classic. A fourth quarter for the ages.


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