The Baltimore Ravens take on the New England Patriots in the second round of the NFL football playoffs, with both teams having a Super Bowl pedigree and only one advancing to the AFC Championship. The Ravens are coming off a wildcard round victory over the rival Steelers, while the Patriots earned a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. It’s also a matchup between Tom Brady and Joe Flacco. Here’s a preview of the game as well as who has the advantage.
Quarterback: Joe Flacco has a knack for putting together up-and-down seasons and then turning it on for the playoffs. And Tom Brady isn’t quite as stellar as he used to be. Still, Brady at 85% is still probably better than Flacco at 100%. Advantage: Patriots.
Offense: Flacco has a better collection of skill players around him including the likes of Steve Smith Sr than Brady does. Both teams have ongoing questions at offensive line, which they appear to have at least partially solved. At running back, Baltimore has Justin Forsett, who despite a key fumble in the first round, is a better option than New England’s LeGarrette Blount or Jonas Gray. Advantage: Ravens.
Defense: Neither team’s defensive unit is as dominant as it once was, despite the presence of stars like Pats cornerback Darrelle Revis and Ravens DT Haloti Ngata. Advantage: Draw.
Overall: Baltimore tends to rise to the occasion in the playoffs, but so does New England. And Bill Belichick has the home field, which serves as a tiebreaker. Advantage: Patriots.