New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens and their suffocating defense head to Foxboro on Sunday to face Tom Brady and their dynamic Patriots offense. The Patriots are -6.5 point favorites over the Ravens with an over/under point total set at 48.
The New England Patriots advance to the AFC Championship on Sunday after the Pats completely dismantled Denver and the Fighting Tebows. Denver was completely outmatched against the Pats as Tom Brady had one of the finest games a quarterback has ever had in a playoff game. The Patriots took an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter after Brady touchdown passes to Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. The Broncos looked like they were going to make things interesting early on in the second quarter when Willis McGahee scampered in from the five for a score. Denver closed the lead to seven, and then Brady went to work. The Patriots followed the Broncos score by scoring 28 consecutive points and putting the Broncos away for good. Brady finished with 366 yards on the day and six touchdowns against just one interception. If this Pats offense is still firing this weekend against the Ravens like it was against the Broncos, it could be a long day for Baltimore.
The Baltimore Ravens advance in the AFC Playoffs after a solid victory against a very good Houston Texans team. The Ravens defeated the Texans 20-13, and the difference in this one was the turnovers by Houston. T.J. Yates did a decent job considering he is a rookie, making a second playoff start, but the Ravens had the answer for Yates and his buddies on the Houston offense and Ray Lewis and company took care of business. Ed Reed was injured late in the game as the Texans threw a fourth down hail mary trying to tie things up, and as Reed was limping off the field keeping his ankle off the turf Ravens fans everywhere held their breath. There is no “official” word as to whether or not Reed will be active against the Pats, but the x-rays are negative so I’m guessing we will see him on the field on Sunday. Joe Flacco catches a lot of flack for his play in Baltimore, and while Flacco will more than likely never have the numbers of some of the elite quarterbacks in this league, Flacco is a proven winner. One thing about Baltimore, you know who they are and what they want to do. The Ravens are going to do whatever they can to get the ball into Ray Rice’s hands, and that, combined with stifling defense has been Baltimore’s recipe for success these past few seasons.
The Patriots are 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine games, and the total has gone over in all five of the last five games for New England. Baltimore is just 1-4 against the spread in their last five games, and just 1-4-2 against the spread in their last seven games against New England on the road.
We saw it this past weekend, and we see it again here. You have a team that can score from anywhere with one of the top quarterbacks in the game, and on the other side of the coin you have a “throwback” team that likes to run the ball, play great defense and limit the other team’s offensive opportunities. I think the Pats get the win at home against the Ravens on Sunday, but I just can’t give Baltimore that many points. Flacco has looked really good at times, and while nobody will confuse Flacco with Brady, I like the balanced attack by the Ravens to put up enough points, and stop the Pats just enough to get a close cover on Sunday in the AFC Championship.
Baltimore Ravens +6.5 New England Patriots