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Published on 01/10/2010 at Sun Jan 10 10:23.
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Previewing, breaking down, and picking the winners of this weekend’s playoff action. Your picks and game discussion in the comments.

Ravens (9-7) at Patriots (10-6)
11:00 a.m. MT
The Line: Patriots by 3.5

The Story: The Patriots and Tom Brady are undefeated at home in the playoffs, and New England is a perfect 8-0 there this season.  This will be Tom Terrific’s first playoff game since the 2007 Super Bowl loss, while Joe Flacco made it the AFC Championship Game as a rookie last year.

The Breakdown: The Ravens got Ed Reed back last week, and if he makes even a smidgen of the impact he made against the Broncos this year, his presence is significant.  Meanwhile, New England’s passing game is hampered with the loss of Wes Welker, who left Week 17’s game with a knee injury.  The Ravens will try to run the ball behind Ray Rice, while the Pats don’t have much of a running game to lean on; they’ll rely on Brady to Randy Moss to open up their offense.  Neither team had much success against good teams this season — the Ravens were 1-6 against playoff teams while the Patriots were 2-3.

The Pick:  In my eyes, this game completely falls on Joe Flacco’s shoulders.  If he plays smart, doesn’t make mistakes, and can even open up the offense a little bit (tough with that utter lack of playmakers at WR), the Ravens should be able to handle the Patriots behind Ray Rice, even in Foxboro.  While Brady will definitely score some points, the loss of Welker hurts them, and I like Ed Reed’s ability to hamper the Brady-to-Moss connection. I’m wacko for Flacco.  Ravens 27, Patriots 22

  • mikebirty

    so who's gonna beat the chargers now?

  • Kyle

    No kidding. The Colts, one hopes. I think they go all the way

  • mikebirty

    Phew, as long as you keep predicting them for the superbowl, I'll feel a lot better about their chances of not making it.