Storylines Abound as Patriots, Ravens Gear Up for AFC Championship

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This isn’t the dream matchup the NFL wanted, but there are still plenty of great storylines that should make the AFC Championship one of the most intriguing games of the year.

The right to advance to the Super Bowl will be on the line when the New England Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday. Only two teams remain in the NFL playoff picture in the AFC, and says it likely isn’t the two teams most thought it would be at the start of the postseason.

“This isn’t the dream matchup the NFL wanted and most probably didn’t predict this,” said Printable Brackets spokesman Zaniel Worth. “However, there are still plenty of great story lines that makes this one of the most intriguing games of the year.”

The Ravens advanced to the AFC Championship with a stunning 38-35 double-overtime win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Corey Graham’s interception of Manning set up the game-winning field goal in the second OT.

“That was one of the wildest playoff games any of us have ever seen,” said Worth. “The Broncos had every opportunity to put the game away, but the Ravens played with the resiliency of champions.”

Meanwhile, the Patriots came alive in the second half in a 41-28 trouncing of the Texans. New England is appearing in the AFC Championship Game for the seventh time since 2001.

“The Pats may have come up short in their last two appearances in the Super Bowl, but their run of success is truly astounding,” said Worth. “Especially in this day and age of parity, what Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have been able to accomplish together is remarkable.”

Sunday’s game is a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship. The Pats escaped with a 23-20 win over the Ravens when Billy Cundiff missed a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal in the closing moments. Baltimore’s Lee Evans also dropped a potential go-ahead touchdown pass in the final minute.

“You can bet that Baltimore has not forgotten about that loss,” said Worth. “The Patriots may be heavy favorites on Sunday, but the Ravens did notch a 31-30 win over the Pats earlier this season. Couple the Ray Lewis factor with the fact the Ravens are playing with ‘house money’ and you have the potential for another thriller in the AFC Championship Game.”

Though the big game is still just over two weeks away, Printable Brackets has already released some of the most popular Super Bowl party games, including a Super Bowl squares pool. All Super Bowl sheets and any of the other sports and tournament-related templates are completely complimentary.

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