We're finally here! By the time the New England Patriots kick off Sunday at 6:30 PM ET, only three teams will stand in the chase for the Lombardi trophy. By the end of the night, we'll know whether the New England Patriots or Baltimore Ravens stand alone from the AFC.
We've broken down the game all week. We know this Ravens team well. The Ravens know this Patriots team well. And the strange sense that I get about this game, is that both fan bases seem to think their team is one of destiny. Of course, only one will prevail, so we'll find out soon enough.
As for the game itself, I'm projecting a Patriots victory, and I'm not just saying that from a biased perspective. The Patriots are a greatly improved team since week three, while you could argue that some major weaknesses have been exposed for the Ravens. Both teams will obviously lay it all out on the line, but playing at home in an AFC Championship, I'm going to have a hard time picking against the Patriots.
I think the Patriots will find a way to take away Joe Flacco's deep ball, and I think they'll be able to force a couple of turnovers. For some reason, the Ravens think they were cheated out of an AFC title last season, and I think that the disrespect that has echoed from the Ravens and their fan base has fired up the Patriots, whether or not they express that publicly.
Only time will tell, and as with any playoff game, a couple of breaks one way or the other could really dictate the outcome. I'm expecting a very tough fought, close game. But I'm also expecting a Patriots victory, which would mean a birth in Super Bowl XLVII.
Greg's Prediction: Patriots 31 Ravens 21
Ravens Coverage: Baltimore Beatdown