Scouting report: Ravens at Patriots (AFC championship)
Jeff Zrebiec breaks down each facet of the AFC championship game between the Ravens and Patriots at Gillette Stadium, and he offers his prediction.
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RAVENS RUN OFFENSE VS. PATRIOTS RUN DEFENSE
The Patriots probably didn't need to see highlights all week of Ray Rice's 83-yard touchdown run against them in the playoffs two years ago for them to make stopping the Ravens' star running back their primary focus. New England coach Bill Belichick has long believed in taking away what his opponent does best and for the Ravens' offense, that's clearly running the football. They rushed for only 87 yards last week against the Houston Texans' tough defense, but as long as the Ravens don't fall way behind early, Rice (left) and Ricky Williams should have prominent roles in the offense. The Ravens know that the best way to keep Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady on the sidelines is to control the clock with their running game. During the regular season, the Patriots allowed 117.1 yards per game on the ground, which ranked 17th in the NFL. Linebacker Jerod Mayo (right) was the Patriots' top tackler during the regular season with 103. The Ravens will obviously need to account for him, but the success of their running game could hinge on their ability to move mammoth defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, one of the game's top run-stuffers. EDGE: RAVENS