Joe Flacco and Ray Rice have been waiting three years to get back to this spot, and if the Baltimore Ravens hope to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2001, they'll need their dynamic duo to take their game up another level.
As a pair of rookies following selections in the 2008 draft, Flacco and Rice were a part of a Ravens club that was dealt a 23-14 setback at Pittsburgh in Baltimore's last trip to the AFC Championship Game. It was a forgettable day for Flacco, who was picked off three times and held to under 150 passing yards.
With a date this weekend against the high-flying New England Patriots, the offense -- specifically Flacco and Rice -- will need to put up better numbers.
"As an offense, an offensive guy, I would think so." Flacco responded when asked after last week's win if the offense needs to put up more points this Sunday. "At the same time, we have a good defense. The way [the Patriots] played all year, the way they've played in the past, they put points on the board. So I think as an offense, you have to go in there and put points on the board too."
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.