you have made it this far in the season, you are less concerned with homefield
advantage and more concerned with momentum and capitalizing on the opportunity
we approach Championship Sunday in the 2011 NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens
and New York Giants face tall orders in going on the road to try and earn a
trip to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
is highly unlikely that both will win Sunday, at least based on history. Only
twice since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 have both visiting clubs come away
victorious in this round, in the 1992 and 1997 seasons.
teams are underdogs, although New York only slightly at 2.5 points. The Giants
have been here before, winning conference title games on the road in 2007 at
Green Bay and 1990 in San Francisco to thwart the 49ers’ three-peat bid.
the tricky one will be the Ravens, 7.5-point underdogs traveling to Foxborough,
where they did win in the playoffs in 2009 but have lost their other six
meetings with the Patriots.
three of the last five years, both home teams have won in this spot, with the
exceptions being the aforementioned 2007 Giants and last year’s Packers in
Chicago. Prior to 2006, at least one road team had won in each of the preceding
eight years, including the double dip in 97.
Ravens were one of those teams, shutting down the potent Raiders attack in the
Black Hole in the 2000 AFC title game. But even with Trent Dilfer under center,
that defense was one of the best of all time and was fortunate enough to play
the majority of the game against Bobby Hoying after Rich Gannon broke his
matches up well with New England, as evidenced by the fact that in their
previous four meetings (albeit 1-3) the Ravens have not lost a game by more
than six points. The Patriots have yet to beat a team with a winning record
this year, including last week’s demolition of 9-9 Denver. So this game,
despite New England’s lethal offense, could still be close.
Blue is a very dangerous team right now and the 49ers saw flashes of that
first-hand back in Week 10. San Francisco prevailed with a late defensive
stand, 27-20, but the Giants moved the ball efficiently in that game,
outgaining the 49ers by nearly 100 yards.
four teams are capable of winning two more games and a Lombardi Trophy, but the
road teams are especially up against it. For the first time since the league
expanded the playoff field to 12 teams, the first seven games of the postseason
were won by the home team until the Giants upended the Packers at Lambeau Field
England and San Francisco are both 8-1 at home this season, and those two
losses were suffered in the final seconds or overtime. The Giants are New
England’s lone home blemish, going ahead for good with 15 seconds to play,
24-20, while the 49ers fell to the Cowboys, 27-24, in overtime.
are one road team will emerge victorious Sunday, based on a combination of
history, matchups, and momentum. Many people would assume that team would be
the Giants because they seem to be in full 2007 mode right now, but the Ravens
and 49ers, led by a pair of Harbaughs, don’t figure to go quietly either.