RAVENS PASSING GAME:
PATRIOTS PASSING GAME: The
RAVENS RUNNING GAME: Offensive coordinator
PATRIOTS RUNNING GAME: New England relied heavily on three different running backs, each adding a different dimension.
RAVENS RUSH DEFENSE: When Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has more than 40 passing attempts this season, New England is just 2-4. The importance of taking away the Patriots' ground game makes this group the game's X-factor. When the Ravens and Patriots met in Week 3, New England gained just 77 yards on the ground and averaged only 2.3 yards per carry. Vulnerable during the regular season, the Ravens' run defense has allowed 277 yards in two playoff games.
PATRIOTS RUSH DEFENSE: Tough all year against the run, the Patriots allowed only 101.9 yards per game on the ground, the ninth-lowest total in the league. They also surrendered just 10 rushing touchdowns during the season. Ray Rice got one of them and also eclipsed the 100-yard mark against the Patriots in September. Vince Wilfork is a force inside, and the Patriots have three active linebackers in
RAVENS PASS DEFENSE: The Ravens haven't consistently beaten Brady, but they have given him problems. In seven meetings against them, Brady has more interceptions (eight) than touchdown passes (seven). The Ravens have remained an opportunistic group in the playoffs with six sacks and five turnovers in two games.
PATRIOTS PASS DEFENSE: The Patriots allowed 271.4 passing yards per game, which ranked fourth-worst in the NFL. Joe Flacco passed for 382 yards against them in late September. But this group has a different look after the addition of talented cornerback
RAVENS SPECIAL TEAMS: A strength all season, the Ravens' coverage teams imploded last week, allowing two return touchdowns. A flurry of mistakes that contributed to both, from poor kicks to missed tackles to abandoned lanes.
PATRIOTS SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker
RAVENS INTANGIBLES: The Ravens have proved they are not intimidated by the Patriots. In addition to the win in September, they stunned New England, 33-14, at
PATRIOTS INTANGIBLES: The Patriots have been dominant at home in the playoffs, going 14-3. Their .824 winning percentage is the highest in postseason history among teams that have played a minimum of 10 games. They also are 7-1 all-time in conference championship games and 4-0 at home. Only two coaches have won more postseason games than Belichick, who is 18-7 in the playoffs. Belichick's Patriots teams are 5-2 all-time against the Ravens.
PREDICTION: Only the most optimistic Ravens fans would have said a month ago that they expected the team to return to the AFC championship game. With the way the Ravens dispatched the