AFC Championship Game: Ravens' Concerns Heading Into Patriots Game

With their victory over the Houston Texans in the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs, the Baltimore Ravens will travel to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It will feature a game with a fantastic offense against a team with a fantastic defense, the classic "unstoppable force Vs. immovable object" game.

SB Nation's Ravens blog Baltimore Beatdown has a couple of concerns for the Ravens heading into the game.

The biggest issue for the Baltimore Ravens coming out of the playoff win against the Houston Texans has to be the lack of pass rush. Yes, Houston does have a good offensive line. Yes, they were trying to run plays designed to render the pass rush irrelevant but still we had plenty of opportunities to try and put T.J. Yates on his back.

While T.J. Yates only passed the ball for 187 yards, he wasn't sacked at all and only hit twice in the game. Against a quarterback the likes of Tom Brady, that can kill a defense. The Broncos pass rush couldn't get to Brady all game and he lit up the Broncos for 363 yards and six touchdown passes.

Another big concern for the Ravens heading into the game against the Patriots was the struggle of the Ravens' running game. As a team, the Ravens ran the ball for just 87 yards.

The Ravens run game also seemed a bit lack luster on Sunday. They were playing a very good defense but in the beginning of the game they seemed as if they were afraid to run the ball. Ricky Williams had a decent game but there were a lot of yards left on the field in the run game. This will not do in New England. Baltimore will have to run the ball more.

Williams was the only Ravens running back to average over 2.9 yards per carry in the game, and Pro-Bowl running back Ray Rice had just 60 yards on 21 carries. The Patriots did give up 144 yards on the ground to the Denver Broncos on Saturday, however.

For updates and analysis on these teams leading up to the 2012 AFC Championship, visit Ravens blog Baltimore Beat Down, Patriots blog Pats Pulpit and SB Nation Boston. Don't forget to check out SB Nation's NFL hub for all your playoff news.

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