15* Ravens/Pats NFL Sunday No-Brainer on Baltimore +9
Baltimore vs. New England,
01/22/2012 15:00 EDT,
Score: 20 - 23
Point Spread: +9/-125 Baltimore
The New England Patriots earned the top seed in the AFC with a 13-3 record in the the regular season. Baltimore earned the No. 2 seed as they tied for the second-best record in the AFC. It's only fitting that these two teams meet up in the AFC Championship in a game that I believe will go right down to the wire. Look for this one to come down to the very last possession either way.
New England is way overvalued heading into this game simply by the nature they beat the Denver Broncos last week. Baltimore didn't look all that impressive against Houston, but I picked the Texans to cover the spread and that team is the most underrated in the league in my opinion. So it was actually a great win for Baltimore, whereas New England beat one of the most overrated teams in the Broncos.
Baltimore has played New England very tough in recent years. They have had the defense that can slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots passing attack, and that has not changed this season. The Ravens ranked No. 3 in the NFL in total defense this season at 288.9 yards/game. They forced four turnovers in their 20-13 victory over the Texans last week, time and time coming up with huge stops down the stretch.
While New England has won three of their last four meetings with Baltimore, all three of those wins came by six points or less, including two by a field goal. The Ravens had the only blowout during this stretch with a 33-14 win at New England in the playoffs at the end of the 2009-10 season. The Ravens held the Pats to just 196 total yards behind a dominant defensive effort. In fact, the Patriots have not exceeded 27 points or 400 yards in any of their last six meetings with Baltimore, and they are only averaging 22.5 points and 283.3 yards/game in those six contests.
The Patriots are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 playoff games. The Ravens are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. a team with a winning record. Baltimore is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 road games after 1 or more consecutive losses against the spread. The Ravens are 29-15 ATS in their last 44 road games after gaining 150 or less passing yards in last game. Look for Joe Flacco to have a huge day against this New England defense that ranks 31st in total yards allowed (411.1) and 31st against the pass (293.9). Take Baltimore Sunday.