NFL Playoff Predictions 2013: Baltimore Ravens Will Pull off the Upset

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIJanuary 20, 2013

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against Chris Harris #25 and Rahim Moore #26 of the Denver Broncos during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Ravens won 38-35 in 2 overtimes.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens haven't been given much respect this playoff season.

First it was the Wild Card Game, where the Indianapolis Colts were a popular pick to pull off the upset.

Then it was the Divisional Round, where the Denver Broncos were favored to win by well over a touchdown.

Now it's the AFC Championship Game, where the Ravens will once again enter as nine-point underdogs.

However, Baltimore is more than capable of pulling off the upset.

This is a team, after all, that started the season with a 9-2 record and then was hit hard by injuries on defense and saw their offense go stagnant.

This postseason, however, armed with a healthy group on defense and a new offensive coordinator, Baltimore has been great.

Even against the Broncos, it's important to keep in mind that 14 of their 35 points against came on special teams and cannot be pinned on the defense.

With the likes of Haloti Ngata healthy, Ray Lewis playing for a championship in his final season, Paul Kruger continuing his hot streak, Terrell Suggs back on the field, Bernard Pollard back in the secondary and Pernell McPhee returning to the line, Baltimore's defense has looked solid.

On offense, the Ravens have been running the ball extremely well, and quarterback Joe Flacco has been hitting his deep bombs more often.

So why are the Ravens such heavy underdogs?

Sure, the New England Patriots have Tom Brady and a prolific offense, but this is the same team that nearly lost to the Ravens in the last AFC Championship Game and did lose to the Ravens in Week 3.

Home-field advantage may have shifted to New England for this week's contest, but the Ravens defense has been playing as well as they have all season and have Terrell Suggs back, someone they didn't have last time these two teams squared off.

When all is taken into consideration, there is no reason to believe that the Ravens can't pull off the upset Sunday evening in Foxboro.

It should be a thriller, but look for the Ravens to emerge victorious.