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Ravens vs. Patriots AFC Championship Preview & Free Pick

Ravens vs Pats AFC Championship Prediction

The winner of this game will play in the Super Bowl two weeks from now. Both of these teams have fallen short despite high expectations over the last few years, and you can bet that they are extremely hungry to get back to the Super Bowl.

Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter

New England is the big favorite thanks to a high-powered offense, but the Ravens can’t be discounted with their top-notch defense. Let’s take a closer look at this AFC Championship game.

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Baltimore Ravens (13-4) vs. New England Patriots (14-3)
Time/Date: 3:00 PM EST, January 22, 2012
Venue: Gillette Stadium
Broadcast: CBS
Ravens vs. Patriots NFL Gambling Odds from JustBet
Spread: Patriots -7.5
Moneyline: New England (-330) Baltimore (+275)
Over/Under: 50.5

Baltimore’s offense has had an up and down season. Ray Rice is an absolute beast in the backfield, but there have been times throughout the year when this team simply hasn’t used him enough. Rice averaged 4.7 yards per carry, and he also led the team with 76 receptions this season. Rice is one of the most versatile running backs in the NFL, and the Ravens need to use him a lot this weekend. Joe Flacco has been highly criticized in the media this year. He has had his worst season as a pro statistically. Flacco is only completing 57.6% of his passes. He did play pretty well last week against the Texans. Anquan Boldin is the team’s top receiver. The Ravens average 23.6 points per game.

The main reason Baltimore is in the AFC Championship is their tremendous defense. The Ravens rank third in the NFL in total defense. Terrell Suggs has had a great career, but this has been his best season yet. Suggs has racked up 14 sacks and seven forced fumbles already this year. Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody are a force in the middle of the defensive line. Ray Lewis is once again the team’s leading tackler. Ed Reed is older, but he is still one of the top safeties in the league. It’s tough to find a weak spot on this unit.[soliloquy id=”82219″]

New England’s offense has been a well-oiled machine this year. The Patriots average 32.1 points per contest. Tom Brady threw for 39 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions this year. He has a quarterback rating of 105.9. Brady has an endless amount of weapons to work with in this offense. Rob Gronkowski has 17 touchdowns in 17 games this year. Gronkowski has quickly become the best tight end in football. He is too quick for a linebacker, but too big for a safety or corner. Aaron Hernandez is listed as questionable for this game, but he is also a great tight end who creates mismatches. Wes Welker leads the team in catches with 122, and it would be tough to find a more reliable receiver in the NFL. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Steven Ridley, and Danny Woodhead carry the ball just enough to keep the defense honest.

The Patriots defense has given up a lot of yards this year, but they have done a nice job limiting the opposition’s touchdowns. New England ranks second to last in the NFL in total yards allowed per game, but they are giving up only 21.4 points per game. Kyle Arrington leads the team with seven interceptions. One source of concern for this group is the fact that their top two tacklers are both cornerbacks.

These teams have met three times in the past three years. All three games have been close, and they have all stayed under the posted total. Look for another game that is lower scoring than expected.

Free NFL Pick: Under 50.5

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About Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Totals are Kyle's specialty, so look for a lot of totals picks from NBA, NCAAF, & the NFL. Check out his plays today.


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