Jane Riley: When did the NFL officially decide that holding is no longer a penalty? I don't think I've seen a flag for holding in weeks! What's up? I think that's why all of these quarterbacks are having record seasons.
- Reed criticizes Flacco for his play against the Texans
- Flacco has shined against playoff teams
- Texans paid some respect to Torrey Smith
- Matt Vensel's NFL power rankings for Jan. 16
- Ravens 18, Detroit Lions 16 [Pictures]
- Mike Preston grades the Ravens' 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions
See more photos »
Joe: Yet another win for the Ravens, yet this year just doesn't have that usual "magical" feeling to it, and this was another victory where I was dissatisfied despite the fact that we won. Can you explain how the Ravens are in the AFC championship game, have won a playoff game for the fourth straight year, and yet I still do not trust this team or our quarterback? They simply just don't seem to have "it"... whatever "it" is.
Mike Preston: Joe, I feel your pain. Of the four teams remaining, only the Ravens seem to not be peaking. Before Sunday's game, there was a two-week buildup of euphoria surrounding this team. And then came Sunday. It was a poor performance by the Ravens and they still won, but there is now pessimism around town. I expected the Ravens to perform better Sunday too, especially after having the bye. But after watching this team for four years, it's still the same stuff. The Ravens are like a box of Cracker Jacks. You open it up, and you never know what you're going to get inside. They are ugly at times and frustrating to watch, but they play hard. They have so much balance and because they play hard they find a way to win. After watching both teams play Sunday, I would say the Patriots appeared to be the better team. But things change from week to week in the NFL. If the Patriots blew the Ravens out Sunday, I wouldn't be surprised. If the Ravens won, I wouldn't be shocked either.
The Ravens are the Ravens. They must be doing something right because they are in the AFC championship game. I say sit back and enjoy the game. Anything can happen.
Terri in Kingsville: Is Brendon Ayanbadejo the type of linebacker that could effectively cover either Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez? I’m thinking BA because he’s heavier than a safety and a cornerback and he’s pretty fast. Your thoughts, please?
Mike Preston: Terri, I'm not sure the Ravens have anyone who can cover those two down the field. I assume Bernard Pollard would be a good matchup mentally and physically. Ed Reed can cover anybody physically, but there are few that can match up with both of those guys physically.
Brian: The offensive line still can't handle a decent pass rush. Receivers, notably Ed Dickson, keep dropping passes. The defense can't get pressure on QBs anymore, and is now showing vulnerabilities to the run, too. Are there any reasons for optimism next week that aren't centered around a game that happened two years ago?
Mike Preston: Yep, the Ravens are 13-4. That's pretty impressive and I bet the Ravens have the Patriots' attention, regardless of how ugly they play. Whenever these two teams play, the games are usually close.
My suggestion for the Ravens coaching staff is to keep doing what they have been doing. So far this week, these guys have been very up-tight. They are worrying more about what is being said or printed by the media instead of coaching their teams. Loosen up, fellas.