3 stats to know for Sunday's AFC Championship
1. Flacco vs. Brady in head-to-head matchups
In five career matchups against the Patriots, Joe Flacco has slightly better statistics than Tom Brady, although New England has a 3-2 record during that span. Since the start of the 2009 season, Flacco has nine TDs and four INTs in five games, and Brady has five TDs and seven INTs.
Flacco is 4 for 5 on throws of 40-plus yards this postseason, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He was 3 for 19 on such throws in the regular season. Ravens WR Anquan Boldin said this week that Flacco can make the deep throw better than any quarterback in the league.
“I've never played with a guy with that much talent; I'm talking about physically,” Boldin said. “I think Joe is able to make any throw on the field.”
2. Historic night for Belichick
Belichick enters Sunday's AFC Championship with 18 postseason wins and can tie Shula for second all-time for a head coach. If the Patriots win the Super Bowl, Belichick will tie Tom Landry for the all-time record.
3. Defending Smith downfield
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Ravens WR Torrey Smith had two touchdown catches of 32 yards or longer in last week's win over the Broncos. More than 40 percent of Smith's targets during the regular season were on attempts of 20 yards or more, according to Pro Football Focus.
“He's gotten some good opportunities and he's taken advantage of them either by getting open or in some cases going up and taking the ball away from the defender,” Belichick said.
When the Ravens defeated the Patriots in Week 3, it came before New England acquired CB Aqib Talib. Smith could be matched against Talib for a good portion of Sunday's game.
“He is a riverboat gambler,” Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. “He'll take a chance here or there, but he's very, very effective.”
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