We were ‘money’ once again last week as we went 3-1 for the second week of playoffs. Here are our picks for this Sunday’s AFC conference championship game… PATRIOTS over Ravens- Let’s cut right to the chase… Joe Flacco is not going to beat Tom Brady! Granted, the Ravens have an excellent defense as we all know, however Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are not going to score any points on Sunday and that’s what the Ravens will need in order to have a chance at overcoming the offensive powerhouse that is the Patriots.
In addition to Deion Branch and Wes Welker, who combined for 140 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the win over the Broncos last week, there is the two-headed monster in TE’s Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski who have between them, 169 catches, 2237 yards, and 24 touchdowns this year.
Tom Brady and these two prolific weapons have been on the same page all season. And what makes them even more versatile is how cleverly Hernandez was used to compliment an ineffctive BenJarvus Green-Ellis (13 rushes for 28 yards) in that game. The 6′ 1″ tight end finished the game as New England’s leading rusher (5-61).
The lone intangible for the Ravens in this Sunday’s game is the in-house negative comments made by Ed Reed towards QB Joe Flacco where it has been reported that he said …”Flacco got rattled against Houston last week and didn’t have a strong grasp of the offense.” Not exactly the most ‘encouraging’ words one could choose when referring to the ‘offensive leader’ of the team. We don’t think that these kinds of remarks will endear Flacco to the rest of his team this late in the season. If he hasn’t earned the respect of his players by now, after 17 games, then when? These types of distractions might just add to Flacco’s nerves and stress level already at its peak given the magnitude of the game. In the end, Joe Flacco is what he is-just an average quarterback- (think Mark Sanchez).
Baltimore’s stud RB Ray Rice has been the focal point of the Ravens offense to be sure. However, Lee Evans and Anquan Boldin are no Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. And once the Ravens fall behind, the running game will be less of a factor, forcing an average quarterback to pass to average receivers against a potent, well oiled and well coached Patriots team who, as it just so happens, has started playing their best defense of the season. Our pick, and Michael Corleone’s pick is New England by double-digits…