FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — There will be no need for introductions when the Baltimore Ravens travel to Foxborough to play the New England Patriots in the AFC title game (6:30 p.m. Eastern). They’re quite familiar with each other. These teams have played each other each of the last four years with three of those games decided by a field goal or less. That includes the Pats’ 23-20 victory over Baltimore last year that sent New England to the Super Bowl.
Oddsmakers are making the Patriots about a nine-point favorite. A victory sends the Patriots to their eighth Super Bowl, tying Dallas and Pittsburgh for most all-time. The Patriots are 14-3 at home in postseason. Tom Brady’s 17th postseason win last Sunday broke a tie with Joe Montana for most by an NFL quarterback. Brady is 7-6 in the postseason after starting his career 10-0 in playoff games.
But New England is without one of its top offensive weapons for this game. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is out for the postseason after breaking his left arm on the Patriots’ seventh offensive play in a lopsided 41-28 win over the Texans last week. Gronk had missed five games with a broken left forearm before returning for the regular-season finale.
If Baltimore is going to pull off the upset, the Ravens are going to have to slow down a Patriots offense that led the NFL with 427.9 yards and 34.8 points a game.
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