The New England Patriots are at least a TD favorite in this weekend's AFC Championship Game against the visiting Baltimore Ravens and the so-called "experts" are already discussing a possible Patriots-49ers or Patriots-Giants Super Bowl match-up. They're thinking that there is no chance for a Ravens team with a questionable offense and only a solid defense to hang their hopes on, to beat the high-flying offense of the Patriots.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but didn't that same scenario just play out this weekend when the San Francisco 49ers knocked out the New Orleans Saints and the visiting New York Giants did the same thing to the Green Bay Packers? In both cases, defense limits those "unstoppable" offenses, creating turnovers and scoring at crucial times in the game to turn the tables on the favorites.
For whatever reason, the naysayers seem to think that recent history can't have a three-peat this weekend, but I'm not buying the possibility that the Ravens can do unto the Patriots that the Giants and Niners did unto others. While Baltimore is 0-6 against New England in the regular season, all of the games have been close and the Ravens had a chance to pull out the win late and should have won their most recent meeting, which they lost in overtime after taking a ten-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Furthermore, the Ravens are no strangers to going on the road in the post season, having knocked out the Pats in Foxboro the last time they met in the one-and-done part of the season. Tom Brady knows he is in for a street-fight and the last time he played against a similar team, the Pittsburgh Steelers slowed him down enough to show that a great defense can beat a great offense.
Knock the lack of offense the Ravens had in their 20-13 Divisional Round playoff win over the Houston Texans last week, but that was against the #2 defense in the NFL and while Baltimore won't under-estimate New England's low-rated defense, they know they can move the ball and put points on the board against them.
All it will take is a decent offensive effort and another great defensive effort combined with a few turnovers and lucky breaks, and the Ravens will add their name to the story of the 2012 NFL post season where despite the record-breaking offensive stories that made the headlines, defense ruled the road to Indianapolis and Super Bowl 46.