Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Eight stats to know: AFC championship
By ESPN Stats & Information
The AFC Championship Game will have a familiar look to it when the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots meet Sunday night. It will be a rematch of both a regular-season meeting (won by the Ravens) and last year's AFC championship.
Here are eight notes, nuggets and numbers you need to know heading into the matchup:
This will be the first time two teams have met in a conference championship game in consecutive seasons since the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers met in three straight from 1992 to 1994.
It’s the first instance of teams meeting in consecutive AFC championships since the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos met in 1986 and 1987.
Tom Brady is 86-15 in his career in home starts (including postseason).
Among quarterbacks whose careers began in the Super Bowl and made at least 20 starts at home, Brady has the best home winning percentage (.851).
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco ranks fourth (35-7, .833).
Brady also passed Joe Montana for the most career playoff wins with his 17th on Sunday. He’ll tie Montana’s mark for most appearances in conference championships with his seventh.
The value of Gronk
The Patriots will be without Rob Gronkowski, who broke his arm in Sunday’s win against the Houston Texans.
The chart on the right shows how the Patriots fared with Gronkowski on and off the field during the regular season.
There was a significant difference in their performance, though that was not an issue against the Texans in the divisional round.
Flacco is no slouch on the road. His five road playoff wins are tied (with Eli Manning) for the most in NFL history by a starting quarterback.
In fact, the Ravens' eight postseason road wins are a total eclipsed by only two NFL teams: the Green Bay Packers (10) and Cowboys (nine).
Good names, bad list
John Harbaugh is 0-2 in his career in AFC title games. He could become the fifth coach to lose his first three conference championship game appearances.
The others: John Madden, Chuck Knox, Marty Schottenheimer and Andy Reid.
Flacco’s nice touch
Flacco is 8-of-12 for 324 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions on throws deeper than 20 yards downfield in the playoffs, including the game-tying touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter against the Broncos on Saturday.
Flacco completed 37 percent of those attempts during the season with seven touchdowns, and had the most attempts without an interception (81) of any quarterback.
The Ray Lewis Effect
Ray Lewis leads the Ravens with 30 tackles this postseason. The Ravens have allowed opponents to complete only 49 percent of their passes when sending five or more pass-rushers with Lewis this season.
Without Lewis, Ravens opponents are completing 65 percent of their passes against such pressure.
Four has been the magic number
The Ravens are the No. 4 seed in the AFC.
No. 4 seeds are 6-1 all time in conference championship games, including a win by the Ravens in 2000, when they went on to win Super Bowl XXXV against the Giants.