AFC Championship Game: Could Billy Cundiff Be Key?

The Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots will meet Sunday afternoon in the highly-anticipated AFC Championship game, but it remains to be seen exactly what sort of game fans should be expecting. If it's a defensive struggle and field goals are key, though, the key could be Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff.

Cundiff made just 11 of his 20 field goal attempts on the road this year, a career-low for an otherwise consistent kicker. That doesn't make him worry too much, however, according to his comments in the Baltimore Sun.

"Things can get skewed with statistics," he said after Friday's practice. "What do they say - if you torture them long enough, they'll tell you anything? I think for me, the big thing is just making sure that now that I'm healthy, I can go back to doing the things that made me successful. That's being aggressive, committing to each kick, and really giving my best effort, and I can do that now being healthy. I can kind of judge my work for the postseason on the game at Cincinnati and the game we just had at home. Both were cold-weather games, both were windy games, so I think they prepped me real well for this game because it's going to be cooler. It may not be as windy, but with their open end zone, it does kind of create some challenges, and I feel like I'm ready for it."

Cundiff makes a good case for why Baltimore fans shouldn't be concerned about their kicker when the game in Foxborough kicks off on Sunday. That won't matter, however, if he's unable to come through the clutch and help the Ravens advance to the Super Bowl.

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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