Patriots-Ravens -- Bill Barnwell says New England
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Football
It comes down to whether the Ravens can contain Wes Welker, and whether the Patriots can run the ball. Both are related: if the Patriots can run effectively, coverage of Welker will drop and he'll make big plays.
Barnwell chooses the Patriots and says it won't even be close:
The Patriots and Ravens have played twice over the past year, and both games were fantastic. You probably remember last year's AFC Championship Game, but the Patriots-Ravens rematch from Week 3 was a 31-30 roller coaster that was overshadowed by the Packers-Seahawks refereeing fiasco the following night. Torrey Smith played less than 24 hours after learning about the passing of his brother and had an incredible game in his honor, with 127 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots simply weren't able to stay near him. New England had a nine-point lead with seven minutes to go, and the Ravens seemed to blow their chance to win the game after their bench took a personal-foul penalty with 2:27 left, but they came up with a huge sack of Tom Brady on second down and used their timeouts to force a punt. Joe Flacco drove the team 70 yards in a minute with no timeouts, setting up a game-winning Justin Tucker field goal from 27 yards out that may or may not have actually gone through the uprights. If we get a game that good again, we'll all be lucky.
I think Flacco will get a few big plays in downfield, but the one downside to his playoff performance might be his inconsistency. He's completed just under 53 percent of his passes this postseason, and if that lack of completion percentage creates a few three-and-outs, that could create too many chances for the Patriots to score and/or dominate field position. I also think the Ravens defense won't be able to handle the speed of the New England no-huddle, an offense that should force a tired Baltimore unit into mistakes all day. New England 38, Baltimore 24.
Read the full article for deeper analysis but it comes down to the fact that the Ravens had a lot of injuries to defense this year, and beating Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning in back to back weeks exhausted them.
I see it differently: the Ravens now know they can beat the best, and they want to win a Superbowl to close Ray Lewis's career. They've gotten through Luck and Manning, now they just need to get through Brady and the NFC champ, either of which will have a less experienced quarterback than Manning and Brady.
I think I would rather have the Ravens win but I am not putting money on this desire.
You'd rather have the Ravens win because you'd rather play the Ravens?
and have brothers coaching in SuperBowl
Brothers in a Superbowl! That would be something else...