|AFC Championship Game|
|Last 3 Games||2-1||+3||2-1||1-2||26.3||12.7||424.0||(6.1)||1.3||22.3||11.3||335.3||(4.7)||1.7|
|Offense (All Games)||25.6||12.6||19.6||28:45||29-124||(4.3)||20-34||59.0%||241||(7)||63-364||(5.8)||(14.3)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||22.5||11.1||19.5||30:47||27-111||(4.2)||21-34||60.8%||228||(6.6)||61-339||(5.6)||(15.1)|
|Offense Road Games||20.2||10.7||17.9||30:17||30-129||(4.3)||19-34||56.7%||195||(5.7)||64-324||(5)||(16)|
|Defense (All Games)||21.6||11.1||21.2||33:08||31-124||(4)||22-36||59.8%||233||(6.4)||68-357||(5.3)||(16.6)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||23.2||11.3||20.4||31:41||27-112||(4.1)||22-36||61.7%||239||(6.7)||63-352||(5.6)||(15.1)|
|Defense Road Games||22.2||11.9||20.3||33:29||34-134||(4)||20-33||60.5%||214||(6.5)||66-348||(5.2)||(15.7)|
|Stats For (All Games)||0.6||0.4||1.1||0.6||14-5||37.3%||1-0||40.0%||4-98||(26.7)||3-27||(9.7)||8-70|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||0.9||0.7||1.5||1.8||13-5||37.8%||1-0||47.8%||3-68||(23.4)||20-2||(9.6)||7-56|
|Stats For (Road Games)||0.7||0.4||1.1||0.8||15-5||35.3%||1-0||44.4%||4-101||(25.1)||3-27||(9.8)||7-62|
|Stats Against (All Games)||0.9||0.8||1.7|| ||15-5||36.9%||1-0||46.7%||2-57||(24.5)||3-26||(8.9)||7-58|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1||0.7||1.7|| ||14-5||38.6%||1-0||55.0%||3-65||(23.5)||24-2||(10.1)||6-53|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||1.0||0.9||1.9|| ||15-5||36.6%||1-0||60.0%||2-61||(26)||3-36||(10.8)||6-54|
|Last 3 Games||3-0||+3||2-1||1-2||30.7||17.0||416.3||(6.1)||0.7||14.7||8.7||372.3||(5.6)||2.0|
|Offense (All Games)||35.2||18.1||27.5||30:47||32-136||(4.2)||25-40||62.6%||294||(7.3)||72-430||(5.9)||(12.2)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||22.6||11.3||19.8||31:34||28-121||(4.3)||20-34||58.5%||221||(6.4)||63-342||(5.5)||(15.1)|
|Offense Home Games||35.4||16.6||27.7||30:49||32-135||(4.3)||25-41||61.8%||292||(7.1)||73-427||(5.9)||(12.1)|
|Defense (All Games)||21.1||9.5||21.5||29:39||26-101||(3.9)||24-38||62.5%||275||(7.3)||64-377||(5.9)||(17.8)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||21.5||10.6||19.3||30:27||28-120||(4.3)||20-33||59.7%||217||(6.5)||62-337||(5.5)||(15.7)|
|Defense Home Games||22.8||9.7||22.9||30:02||27-109||(4)||24-39||62.2%||265||(6.8)||66-374||(5.7)||(16.4)|
|Stats For (All Games)||0.5||0.4||0.9||1.5||14-7||48.5%||1-0||66.7%||2-50||(20.4)||3-30||(11.5)||6-53|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||0.9||0.6||1.5||1.8||14-5||37.1%||1-0||51.1%||3-66||(24)||25-2||(10.5)||6-54|
|Stats For (Home Games)||0.4||0.4||0.9||1.3||14-7||48.1%||1-1||70.0%||3-69||(22.1)||3-30||(11.8)||6-59|
|Stats Against (All Games)||1.2||1.2||2.5|| ||13-5||39.1%||2-1||44.4%||4-86||(22.4)||2-10||(6.6)||6-57|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1||0.7||1.7|| ||13-5||37.0%||1-0||47.9%||3-69||(24.8)||23-2||(10.5)||6-53|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||1.0||1.2||2.2|| ||14-6||42.3%||1-1||50.0%||4-92||(23.7)||2-9||(5.6)||6-53|
|Average power rating of opponents played: BALTIMORE 20.5, NEW ENGLAND 19.1|
|11/25/2012||@ SAN DIEGO||16-13||W||-1||W||47||U||35-127||30-51-316||0||23-91||23-36-189||0|
|1/20/2013||@ NEW ENGLAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|11/22/2012||@ NY JETS||49-19||W||-7||W||48.5||O||39-152||18-28-323||1||29-119||26-36-286||5|
|1/20/2013||BALTIMORE|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|BALTIMORE: The Ravens have slowly and successfully transitioned to a zone-blocking scheme over the past couple of seasons. They've steadily mixed in more and more zone stretch plays for Ray Rice and have had plenty of success doing it, especially now that their line heavily utilizes cut blocking. They still use a lot of two-back sets with Rice running behind Vonta Leach. Rice will take a very heavy load again; even with Ricky Williams on the roster last season, Rice played more than 75 percent of their offensive snaps, so expect rookie Bernard Pierce to be used sparingly. Baltimore keeps it very conservative in the red zone, running it more than half the time inside the 20, and nearly 60 percent of the time in goal-to-go situations last year. Rice takes pretty much all the red zone reps. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had always wanted to stretch the field but never had the receiver to do it until Torrey Smith emerged last season. Cameron has said he'll use more two tight end sets, as they did toward the end of last season. Dennis Pitta outperformed Ed Dickson in the second half of the year and is the one receiver Joe Flacco consistently looked for over the middle. Rice will also continue to have a huge role in the passing game, not only as a safety valve, but also on screens and in the slot to create mismatches. Anquan Boldin was a popular target in the end zone last year. The off-season Achilles' injury to reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs could be enough to keep this from being an elite defense. Baltimore does have experience in veterans Ed Reed and Ray Lewis'neither of whom shows any significant signs of slowing down'and Haloti Ngata is one of the best interior linemen in the league. Cornerback Lardarius Webb capped his first year as a starter with three interceptions in the playoffs, and Bernard Pollard had 89 total tackles (62 solo) in 15 games (including playoffs) as a full-time player. |
|NEW ENGLAND: Josh McDaniels returns to the role of offensive coordinator'he called plays for New England in 2007, a record-setting year for Tom Brady and the offense. But while he was gone the Patriots got more comfortable running the ball. Last year they ended up being middle of the pack in terms of run/pass split (41/59 vs. NFL average of 43/57). There will be plenty of work for the backs. The Patriots run a wide range of blocking schemes, but McDaniels strongly prefers a power scheme. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are expected to split duties as the primary ball carriers, and Danny Woodhead and Joseph Addai will likely get spot duty on third downs. The Patriots use spread principles. Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez are utilized frequently out of the slot underneath, while Rob Gronkowski is used as a field stretcher working up the seam. The return of McDaniels and addition of Brandon Lloyd means more deep shots. Lloyd is familiar with the playbook from his days under McDaniels in Denver and was very impressive during off-season workouts. Deion Branch and Jabar Gaffney will primarily stay outside for spacing. The backs have been marginalized in the passing game with the emergence of Hernandez, but Woodhead is typically targeted a couple of times every week. While Gronkowski is frequently Brady's first option from about 10 yards out, they tend to use play-action and utilize Hernandez once they're closer to the goal line. The Patriots allow gobs of yardage, especially through the air, but they will also force a lot of turnovers and don't allow as many points as you'd expect of a defense that surrenders so many yards. DT Vince Wilfork is a monster in the middle, and the team is expected to have a better pass rush in 2012 with the expected contributions from rookies Chandler Jones and Donta' Hightower. Jerod Mayo was limited by a knee injury through most of 2011. As a three-down player who excels at stopping the run, there's no reason he can't top 100 solo tackles, even playing the weak side when New England uses a 4-3 look. Brandon Spikes was also slowed by a knee injury during most of 2011, but bounced back for an impressive 26 total tackles in three post-season games. Patrick Chung was en route to a career year statistically before a foot injury derailed him. He's at his best in the box, but is instinctive enough in pass coverage to make up for some of New England's deficiencies on the corners. If Mayo, Spikes and Chung can all remain healthy in 2012, the Patriots defense has a chance to be vastly improved. |
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW (BALTIMORE-NEW ENGLAND) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Ravens-Patriots Preview* =========================
The Baltimore Ravens have what they wanted - another shot at the New England Patriots.
The AFC championship will feature the same teams from the year before for the first time in 25 years when the Patriots play the Ravens on Sunday in Foxborough, where New England has never lost with the Super Bowl on the line.
New England (13-4) won 23-20 last year after some late dramatics. Lee Evans nearly caught a game-winning touchdown pass from Joe Flacco in the closing seconds before Patriots safety Sterling Moore knocked the ball loose from the receiver. That set the stage for Billy Cundiff's 32-yard field goal miss that would have sent the contest to overtime.
Moore, Evans and Cundiff are all gone for this matchup - one that Baltimore (12-6) sees as fitting in its quest for its second Super Bowl appearance.
"I think we personally kind of wanted to play the Patriots again," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "If we go to the Super Bowl, it would be great to go through Foxborough."
New England cruised last Sunday to a 41-28 win over Houston, setting up a chance to improve to 5-0 at home in AFC title games. That cemented the first AFC championship rematch since Denver and Cleveland met following the 1986 and 1987 seasons.
This meeting only became possible after the Ravens advanced with a 38-35 double-overtime road win Saturday over the top-seeded Broncos, needing Flacco to come through with a tying 70-yard TD pass to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left in regulation.
The victory extended the season of retiring Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who is happy to see that his team will be a heavy underdog once again this week.
"My Super Bowl year in 2000, we were never picked one time the entire season to win a game. Not one time," Lewis said. "But at the end of the day, we held the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champs. That alone taught me a valuable lesson - that no one outside dictates how we the inside."
Lewis spent some time after last weekend's game visiting with Peyton Manning. Now he will get his last look at Tom Brady.
"When you see when he makes a play, their whole sideline gets really amped up so I think you've always got to know where No. 52 is at," Brady said. "He's always right in the middle of the defense but whether he's blitzing or covering or he's free in the middle of the field, you always have to take him into account."
Brady completed 25 of 40 passes for 344 yards and three scores last weekend to improve to 17-6 in the postseason, moving past Joe Montana's record for most playoff victories. He will again match wits with safety Ed Reed, who has intercepted him twice in six games.
While Brady has little to prove, Flacco is trying to reach his first Super Bowl after coming agonizingly close last year.
Flacco continues to carve out a reputation as a solid postseason quarterback after throwing for 331 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Broncos. He's now tied with the Giants' Eli Manning on the all-time list with five road playoff wins.
"To see Joe have that kind of a game in that kind of an environment is something all of us who are in Joe's corner knew was there," coach John Harbaugh said. "It's been the last two weeks, (but) it's really been throughout the season we've seen the growth."
Baltimore beat visiting New England 31-30 on a Justin Tucker field goal as time expired in Week 3, rallying from an early 13-point deficit. Flacco threw for three TDs and 382 yards - his third-highest career total - while Brady finished with 335 yards and one TD.
Flacco has thrown for 1,271 yards, nine TDs and four interceptions in five games against New England. That includes a 34-yard effort in a 33-14 wild-card victory following the 2009 season in which he was asked to protect the ball after the Ravens built a 24-0 lead after one quarter.
Flacco is 7-4 in the playoffs, winning at least one game in each of his first five seasons.
"Joe's done a great job since he came into the league," Brady said. "I've played against him a bunch of time and he's always played really well."
Brady will be without a major weapon in Rob Gronkowski, who is out for the season after the tight end re-fractured his forearm against the Texans. Gronkowski was tied for fourth in the NFL with 11 TD receptions.
There are numerous differences between these teams since they met in September, most notably that reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs is playing for Baltimore after being out following a torn Achilles. The Ravens' secondary also has a different look with Corey Graham establishing himself as a starter at cornerback.
Baltimore also has a new offensive coordinator, turning to Jim Caldwell after firing Cam Cameron on Dec. 10. New England has added a playmaker on defense in cornerback Aqib Talib, acquired from Tampa Bay on Nov. 1.
One area of concern for the Patriots is on special teams after they allowed Houston kickoff returns of 94 and 69 yards - the longest against them all season. Now they must try to slow down the dangerous Jones, who averaged a league-best 30.7 yards on kickoff returns but did not run them back in Week 3.
"We have to do what we're doing better," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "It's definitely a point of emphasis and I'm sure it will be important in this game. We'll definitely work on it."
Five of the last six meetings between these teams have been decided by six points or fewer. This will be the teams' fifth matchup in just over a three-year span.
"It's definitely grown into quite a rivalry, we would like to say," said Harbaugh, who is 0-2 in AFC title games. "I don't know how they feel about that. We have tremendous respect for the New England Patriots (and) their coaches."
|Last Updated: 9/2/2014 11:10:06 PM EST|