Jan 16, 2013|
Greg Bedard joins in to preview the AFC Championship game. The Globe's football guru says the game should be close but the Pats can pull away if they pick up the pace on offense. Bedard also says that no matter who wins between Baltimore and New England, they'll be facing the 49ers in the Super Bowl.
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Mid week mid show Greg Bedard. Boston Globe football writer joins us on the AT&T hotline AT&T forgy LTE the morning Greg are you. Morning. You insert quick one we got earlier Jermaine Cunningham gets suspended obviously through whatever he -- like -- -- comes back. This girl comes back and and really is not a factor anymore is that like. Because he's no longer in this is performance is no longer enhanced or did you just. Someone displace -- doesn't come back in and right in the old role. Our Africa. He and random Bolton was also sustainable cut. Slap on the wrist a little bit. And like you know you put the team at risk and we don't really appreciated and you're gonna pay a bit -- a price but. Go to betting on the status to Chandler Jones this week I think organist see more of mr. Cunningham and. They don't we heard again and again leading up to last Sunday's game against the Texans that the previous match up on December 10 met absolute nothing about the pebbles a bunch of crap but. It had it had it had an effect on what the Texans were able or topic could do. In -- but I think it really is true. But the week three matchup between the ravens and the patriots will bear no resemblance to what we're going to see Sunday united Gillette fair to say. Absolutely and did it and number one just for the resentment the replacement officials are -- -- Julia had. -- yet certainly -- teams that are are entirely different I mean. The patriots defensively. In that matchup they were terrible. In all three. As sort of pieces of the defense game from the defense line to linebackers. It was a as a secondary every click or you know the secondary much better they were terrible all disciplines. There were getting blown out of gas so on the ravens could -- the agreement could do whatever they wanted basically. Offensively -- the patriots to Mac game on the ball through ball whatever. You don't offensively. I think the patriots are certainly different because. That was Robert out it was a full force Aaron Hernandez over the first full game without him. After getting hurt against. Arizona. Yeah. The other that was significant. And I think that. You know you look at the ravens. They're completely different I think out defensively. Big thing it would -- web they're terrific quarterback only huge fan of is on injured reserve. And I've really thought I thought that injury more than meal Ray Lewis being out the strike so I thought that. Was gonna and things for the ravens but I gotta give a lot of credit they've really come a long way. To keep chord ring on the quarterback has done a really nice job I think Terry Williams. Has improved. The whole secondary had a big advocates have. If they would block web today in the last month. It would be a bigger issue it has helped them using -- earlier in the C because they've been able to compensate learn how to play without him. -- -- -- Rock that it is not a clue about it and I think that I think the -- agreements economically well if the patriots offensive outburst it. I think they're far better offensively now than they were and that game I think their offensive line. The prime McKinney at left tackle. Better date the -- and the Broncos have gotten no pressure against them and then I think there're there around their weapons have developed and I think there extremely dangerous. Greg if my memory serves and I'm also looking at my notes from the 23 of September -- number three. That might have been recorded worst game of the year as I recall he dropped interception he had a huge pass interference on a number of plays he got burned. By the other wide receivers and Joseph Flacco wasn't that that that that Nader if you will from recording in the season. What's funny is that I actually thought it went well let's try to remember I I thought he played. Extremely well I mean some guys to make plays and down you know we had a couple plays made on him obviously the -- -- penalty. Was unfortunate. I yet and the dropped interception one but I thought out that he played. -- -- pretty well and -- talked other scouts who agree with that and I think the patriots and totally. Also -- as well but. I think is no question that. -- is in on -- go back and forth on this game I think you know at the end of the day. Haven't gotten through all the treatments film I wanna watch but I you don't watching some of they're they're raucous home last night. I think the year struck by is you know how aggressive the Broncos safeties were. And how obviously the -- burned by that and oh there's no chance. That's gonna happen the -- But god loves McCourt. Which read it blows -- -- and you know what I think it would never have that discussion I was sent out an island I I ended by saying that you have to agree to disagree I'll look at my eyeballs told -- but he's breaking down immediately given that -- and I do think he's right about one thing once according is just a full time safe yeah. He's a Pro Bowl possibility you and he stays healthy year in Europe. They're Greg. I didn't according help you fix a flat or someone time because you'd love that -- don't -- Greg. And you know what it just doesn't. Come from we both went to rockers. All that. Did you live in the same dorm and have some of the same professors. Now moron don't. No he's he's he's a little bit younger than I am but you know look I -- is critical of anybody even in training camp about him. Playing quarterback I mean I had. Serious reservations about him mayor. My wasn't afraid to criticize him last year but there's no question he has improved this year. At quarterback and at CPU. You get muffled for any Kia I think you're talking. He's in the global conversation in -- and maybe should have been this year. The colts on the Broncos were not able to get any pressure on Flacco will the patriots be able to do that. I don't think so are big big couldn't get much pressure. Against the Texans is just the match jobless. Terrible on their passing offenses parties defendants secondary. I have serious reservations about how much personal and the other get. I wonder how much look big they -- Flacco twice -- first game to call blitzes the other two pressures were Mayo coming on. I don't agree dog -- bullets where. To bring back stays in the egos. So. I know you combine the view combined with the the ravens' ability to compete and make plays down the field. And that's gonna keep I think gonna keep -- -- he's back they've been pinching it Gregory a lot. And leaving -- as the one receive the I don't see them doing a lot of blitzes in this game outside of their normal. Third down red zone we need to bring somebody type thing. I mean Dumervil one Miller couldn't get Mira. You know what Greg -- I said early last week the pages -- win and win easily again. And then you convince me further when one day you wrote that. Schaub would have to play the game of his life for use in the win this game which I didn't think was gonna happen I mean I knew was gonna happen. I feel differently about Flacco do you get the sense that he likes these big moment that he might be better than he normally is when he gets on the stage like this he certainly had a that terrific game in last year's AFC title game. Yeah are you you know I totally agree. -- it some. You know you look at what he's done in the playoffs since the start 2011. Are the biggest twelve touchdowns against two interceptions. You were -- -- -- on down the stretch here. When you look at the tip of the giant that destroyed them. Bagel demon he's Alec people should throw that -- the starter fluid and play that much. And in the two playoff games I mean he's averaging. -- almost ten yards per -- I mean that's unheard of Brees. Got over. Nine point nine I think once all season that's a flock -- average in the black where -- -- so for. And I think there's no question that he has. But -- a big game quarter wreck now. This is the as a Christian and say you know greedy or Rogers or priest know he's a different type quarterback in the doesn't always look pretty. And he makes some head scratching played when that when the chips are down. That guys top in the big spot I mean. That play in overtime where they have third and thirteen -- their own -- yard line. I thought outside of the obvious is the road that tied the game. That was the humongous play I mean if they turn the ball over there. The Broncos barely moved the ball -- they win the game and he throws the seam route back shoulder to get a to convert the first down between two defenders. Not many quarterbacks make debt grow and to see him do that in the big spot is not going to be afraid come in here not that I. Would. He's a tough -- Here's what we're hearing now and -- -- you're here and -- he's got to go deep up the right sideline at Torrey Smith is that too obvious too simple are you looking at some other. Way that he can hurt the patriots may be in Europe the same may be. In -- rice out of the backfield how do you think he is going to. Win this if he wins this. Well there's no question that you like going. Deed to his right more than anything and I I I think they'll Belcher will find a way to exploit that and make a few plays -- -- but. If people think that what the the ravens attack -- is an and that's were dangerous they're making. Are huge mistake because you're talking Mateen went. You know would -- in -- Bolden has become a beast -- -- the patriots last year of course. Julian gentleman playing him in slot down. -- still can't believe that actually happened and what this ball that way but it happened. And you know you're talking like Dennis pit. -- Dixon. Jacoby Jones. All these guys are playing at a high level they have great race who. There have really used that upon out of the backfield of late arm who's who's dynamic in the -- he not ever good. Pass protector I expect patriots try to exploit that a few times maybe even with -- keep him in the back field. And try to get mail against him one on one or spikes or somebody. That when that battle but. This is not just Joseph Flacco throwing deep -- Smith they can all three levels in the field short medium and eat. This is a very good offense at this point in time -- -- uses a complete juggernaut know. But. It's definitely this is this is one of the toughest test. That the defense has had the especially late in the season. I guess Caldwell replacing Cam Cameron was a balls he -- which made a lot of people scratched their head I guess it turned up to be a good move does not Greg. Yeah I think so I mean he got off to a shaky start with -- team. Against the broad home. You know I was at the -- the ravens colts playoff game and try to historically you know I'm parent. We are -- the Texans play the patriots sort figured you know what a patriot fans want to read about so I wrote music what they wanted to know what -- But can -- at home if he championship games so -- you know -- from that perspective and you know you could -- and talk in the -- -- that. That first week against the Broncos from Caldwell camera we got fired although it's called place. That there were a lot of struggles going on internally and it was just. It was just not a good place to be that week but since that time they've really. Turned around. Caldwell has done a terrific job and -- something -- McCain can really struggled. Is that you know look they're running the ball more than that passed in the bombing everybody sees Flacco in the in the deep passes -- should. Because the -- like. You know Don is they're Oriole all charged. Often. But you know look they're running the ball well with rice and and pierce. In hand -- That -- arriving this offense in in getting that. Sort of refocused has done wonders for them and you know look the patriots are top run the ball again -- against but I think -- ravens' offensive line. It is stiff challenge and I think Matt Birk is much healthier this year than it was last year when -- destroyed him. And also epic martial Uganda he's kind of been on -- As they all probe -- type I thought last year but that was at stake podium there this year is not a mistake you'd have a perfect postseason record. -- we all know the emotional inspirational impact the motivation Ray Lewis provides for his raven teammate where would you say his physical game is at this point in his senate career. In about a five your box and that's it I mean -- couldn't diagnose plays and make a few plays against the run between the tackles but outside of that. He's not really giving you much and he could be a serious liability on Sunday against the patriots with some of the work that they're doing with the running. What happens when they go to the hurry up Greg. It does obviously Denver didn't do enough for it into a quick enough. How does Ray Lewis survived -- -- -- Ray Lewis Suggs and not and in the you know some of these injured guys. How they survive the patriots real hurry up offense. Injured that's one of the big questions in this game and I don't have an answer that at this time I mean I don't. I don't think that they handled well but the thing is with the would hurry up is that he can work equal work against you just as quickly as it can work well for you mean if you start. All of a sudden. You know -- in the -- get out there and what it looks like is that you know you have about. You know 85% Aaron Hernandez you know you. That Corey Graham and slot doing a good job against walker shutting him down. -- Brandon Lloyd catching like half the passes thrown to. And you know -- and then they're able. It -- tackle the running back decently well out of the backfield all the simulate command situation where military it will probably gonna move the ball and in what they can't. Run the ball well against the -- all the sudden instead of you know hurry up working for them working against them in the given back -- ravens are playing ball control so. It's a fine line but I you know on paper. I don't think that the ravens keep up with them if they do there no problem puddle but. You know it's only execution of the patriots don't execute. And Brady always have to grind against this ravens. Defense -- and they don't choose to go up no huddle. As much in these situations because Brady doesn't know what to expect from the defense. You know I think it's going to be a bit of account. Doesn't the Turbo no -- make all the sense of the world best based on how many plays the ravens defense is played the last two weeks. Yes yes certainly knows that mean they put a hundred mediate plays. But. You know again they have to excuse if they don't it's gonna work against them and may not gonna get -- -- -- A great dude do you we we talked about this earlier do you stay on the pile longer. I'm India slapped the ball around maybe after a play if you're if you're a savvy veteran team that knows no model will kill you. What little tricks can you do to slow it down. Of course they're gonna do all that -- that. All up there -- -- -- can be gravity triceps. And they and -- I got to come up with a -- in. You know every time did the ravens will be watching diligently at the patriots sideline to see if they make one of fusion. You know bay -- apple that the rack up hold the ball to give the ravens an opportunity to make substitutions well so it's kind of stopped the jets brought up before. We would the second first or second matchup com about. -- -- cheating or so to speak. With some substitutions. From the Broncos but yeah they're into all that stuff is you're gonna have to because if the patriots go to purple. On you know I think the ravens are going to be in trouble but you know I would feel better about the patriots and that circumstance if -- was out there I just think that there's. There's a huge drop off. I mean. Huge drop off from what to do what they're doing now and I think that. Yeah I think that you know the the running back -- really nice job against the Texans and there's the potential for a lot of that but. You know I would feel much better about the patriots chances if gronkowski was up -- -- of a couple running back then in whom. A final question for -- -- do you suspect bill's gonna kick the kick off team in the asked this week. Now I don't mean that he's gonna do it I mean Scotty O'Brien. You know will be up to those guys and you know -- -- and -- post game. -- kept -- -- in the game was. You know you can tell Matt Flynn -- special teams captain just. Not happy about what went on and Brady saw that as well and and Brady said you know he he stopped the first second me and he said Matthew you know. Just you know let it -- you guys are going to be better but worry about it and I don't. Slater didn't really wanna hear that time but you know I thought I was mentioning and I I think that I don't think the pitchers were having trouble living up in the same way -- the ravens I mean they got gas. Against the Broncos for two touchdowns and you know still one -- game -- Harbaugh out of former special teams coach bill. Both sides to get a clean up but I expect a much better special teams. Game on Sunday and I think that that was all the more importance on. Did the offensive and he -- Our US convince -- the rest of us Greg that the winner of this game play is the niners in New Orleans. Yes without question I think Tibet. -- 49ers offense you couple that with the defense. And what they're doing offensively with a pistol on capitol -- and is that it's it's pretty much light years ahead of what. Everybody else is doing now that being said whoever faces them it's two weeks to prepare for that. And will have a game plan especially with the patriot you know -- and a -- -- -- on the -- with Nick -- and Chip Kelly and everybody can pick -- Here are and how William the defenses but that that team -- juggernaut -- do you think that. They're they're defense has issued against teams like the patriot. We no huddle and spreading the field public epithet. That the target football team and -- I think gonna. Beat up -- and all of the players on the. Good stuff -- we'll -- -- next week enjoy the weekend. Greg -- Boston Globe to Dennis and Callahan on AT&T AT&T forgy LTE was speeds up to ten times faster than three GAT and T feels rethink possible -- a little different from last week doesn't have you everybody. Respect yeah array of right. And respect Houston I'll speculate because they were scared they were concerned scared and I left the psych him out early in the week and said they would win and win easily in and or people what you hedging your bets and saying you never know. And then -- died he was obviously very thorough in his analysis that said. Schaub has to play the game his life I left -- -- That's not possible under this kind of pressure in New England in the playoffs that can't happen and he was. Okay. Wasn't awful he was better than he was in the previous game he was OK or twice as many points they scored the previous games Joel Weitz is -- and smoked I think Flacco. Likes these moments I think should does not. Edison Callahan phone lines open your phone calls next -- D&C.