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Ravens have a good shot to win the AFC championship

OK, so I finished up 2-2 in my predictions of last week's NFL playoff games ad to much delight for most of you, the Baltimore Ravens win in Denver was one of my two losses.

The Green Bay Packers were my other defeat, failing to show up in San Francisco the same night the Ravens overcame great odds to stop the Broncos.

Both wins came Sunday, the first in improbable fashion with Atlanta's nearly last second 49-yard field goal, while as I really expected, the New England Patriots were just to much for the Houston Texans.

So, what gives in this week's championship games?

First off, San Francisco is heading to Atlanta, where the Falcons usually play pretty well. That said, the Falcons will have to play really well if they want to get to the Super Bowl. I'm not sure they have enough time to prepare for or ways to stop 49'ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. So, as much as it pains me, the 49'ers win, unless they turn the ball over three or more times and the Falcons get points from the defense and/or special teams.

As for the game that all of you are really waiting for, what are the Ravens' chances of going into New England and winning? Actually, pretty good, if they can somehow duplicate the performance that got them past Denver.

My brain still says Patriots in this one, but at this point, how can I, or anyone else for that matter ,pick against the Ravens? Many thought Seattle was the team of destiny, but the Seahawks are home now.

That leaves the Ravens and the feel good story of Ray Lewis playing his final games. That aside, that may have created the destiny that's unfolding right before our eyes.

So, let's go with the Ravens in a squeaker this week. A missed field goal last season led to the heartbreaking loss in this same game, while a field goal that was ruled good early in this season's matchup led the Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to lose his cool. Oh, those field goals. Whatever the outcome, enjoy the game.

OK, on couple more serious notes, two issues that make my heart hurt have been become known this week. The first that grabbed me was the news of Brionna Jones and her possible season-ending knee injury.

As I write this Tuesday, the results of an MRI were to be known today (Wednesday) and there was great concern of a tear to her ACL. That news will end a senior season that had lots to talk about.

A shot at 2,000 points, which has not been accomplished by any Harford County public school player, male or female. A possible repeat of a state championship for the Eagles.

If, in fact, both of those accomplishments fail to happen, our hopes are that Jones will undergo successful surgery, a strong rehab and a strong to start to her freshman season at the University of Maryland later this year.

My other issue came just this morning when I learned that Charlie Barker had passed away sometime Tuesday morning. For those who don't know her story, well, quite remarkable. Charlie battled the rare form of plasma cell leukemia since 2007, with bone marrow transplants and all the other stuff that comes along with coping with the disease.

In all this time, I can honestly say I never saw Charlie anywhere that she didn't have a smile and a kind word for all. She has truly been an inspiration to many, myself and my family included.

Charlie will missed and my thoughts and prayers are for her family.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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