In dramatic fashion, the Baltimore Ravens have earned a second straight spot in the AFC Championship game. What has yet to be determined is who they will face. The Ravens will go on the road next week to either Houston or New England for a regular season rematch that’s sure to be epic. With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, who should you be rooting for in today’s matchup?
Much like the Baltimore Ravens in Denver, nobody is giving the Houston Texans a shot in New England. The media seemed to want nothing more than to bring in the ratings with a Brady vs. Manning AFC Championship headline, but were surely disappointed after the Ravens rained on their parade. I suppose the next best thing for the networks would be a Patriots/Ravens rematch of last year’s AFC Championship. As much as I would like to see the Ravens get some revenge for last year, nothing would give me a bigger grin than to see all of the critics and analysts to eat their words yet again.
The Houston Texans completely annihilated the Baltimore Ravens during week seven. It was embarrassing for the Ravens and the Texans made quite the statement as they now looked like cream of the crop in the AFC. However, there was still much football to be played in the young NFL season and the Texans began to fall apart. Injuries and other issues reared their head, making the offense less explosive and the defense much less scary. The Texans loss confidence and dropped the ball when it came to clinching the #1 seed, handing it over to the Denver Broncos in the final week of the regular season. The team that was once the most feared is now the one that everyone wants to see in the playoffs.
The Patriots’ suspect defense has hid well in the shadow of Tom Brady’s electric offense, but nonetheless, the Patriots are still the media’s favorite to win it all. Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker are matchup nightmares, and the only way to win against the Pats is to outscore Tom Brady. However, that may not be as difficult as it seems given the way the Patriots’ D have looked at times this season. Week 15 comes to mind as the 49ers put up 41 points against a secondary that looked completely lost. The Patriots are without a doubt a fearsome opponent, but definitely have some exploitable weaknesses.
Either way, I feel supremely confident that the Ravens are able to beat both the Texans and the Patriots. After witnessing what I just did yesterday, I honestly don’t see how the Ravens can lose another game. The Texans are obviously the weaker team at the moment, but the Ravens matchup so well against the Patriots and are no strangers to Foxboro. Part of me wants the Texans so the Ravens can avenge the regular season loss, but another part wants to see the Ravens take out the NFL’s best two quarterbacks back-to-back for that added bragging right.
To be the best, you have to beat the best, and the Patriots are widely considered just that. When the Ravens win the Super Bowl, I don’t want any naysayers saying “…but you didn’t play the Patriots,” in an attempt to lower its significance. When you really think about it, nothing would be sweeter that taking down Emperor Belichick and his evil empire, leaving all of the Joe Flacco doubters speechless. The hackneyed Patriots’ dynasty would be no more and Joe Flacco delivering the final blow would be a priceless moment. It may sound crazy, but I really want to see Brady next week.