The New England Patriots came dangerously close to being upset in the 2012 AFC Championship Game.
Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field in the final seconds that would have sent the game between the Patriots and Baltimore Ravens into overtime. Two plays earlier, wide receiver Lee Evans dropped a touchdown pass that would have likely secured a victory for Baltimore.
A year later, New England will once again look to hold off Baltimore for a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
The two teams will battle in a rematch at Gillette Stadium on Sunday evening. Kick-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game live on CBS. There is no legal live stream available online for U.S. residents.
New England was expected to win last year, but they are even bigger favorites in 2013. The betting line at most Las Vagas casinos opened up at 10 points, though the point spread has gone down to eight since then.
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At home, the Patriots have been virtually unbeatable in the past few seasons. The Ravens have also had a tougher time on the road, with 11 of their 14 losses in the past three years coming away from Baltimore.
After getting off to a 3-3 start, New England has lost just one contest. They easily beat the Houston Texans in their first playoff game, and are looking to reach their sixth Super Bowl in the past 12 years.
Tom Brady leads an offense that has been one of the most successful in NFL history. Even without an injured Rob Gronkowsi for much of 2012, the Patriots still put up 34.8 points per game, tied for the third most all-time.
If any team can slow down the Patriots, though, it might be the Ravens. Brady’s 83.0 career passer rating against Baltimore is his worst against any AFC opponent. In last year’s title game, the quarterback was picked off twice and threw no touchdowns.
Joe Flacco has played as well as any quarterback in the 2013 postseason. His 120.0 passer rating helped the Ravens beat both the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. His play in the regular season has not elevated him to an elite status among quarterbacks, but he’s played very well in his recent postseason games.
Just as Brady has played poorly against Baltimore, Flacco has excelled against New England. In last year’s loss to the Ravens he threw for two scores and 306 yards.
The two teams also met in Week 3 of the regular season. Baltimore’s field goal as time expired gave them a 31-30 victory. Flacco led the Ravens on the game-winning drive, and threw for 382 yards on the night.
Throughout the season, New England has proven to be the better team, but Baltimore has shown they can hang with the Super Bowl favorites. The winner will go on to play either the Atlanta Falcons or San Francisco 49ers in two weeks.