This afternoon the No. 1 seed New England Patriots host the No. 6 seed Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Round. This will be the fourth time that Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco and Patriots’ QB Tom Brady meet in the playoffs. Flacco leads the series 2-1, including a win in the 2012 AFC Championship game that sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl.
All three of the previous postseason match-ups (2009 Wild Card, 2011 AFC Championship, 2012 AFC Championship) were also played at Gillette Stadium.
There are plenty of headlines to consider in what has quickly become a bit of a classic playoff showdown between two Super Bowl champion quarterbacks.
Joe Flacco, Ravens QB––seven NFL seasons
72-40 in the regular season (hasn’t missed a start)
10-4 in the postseason
Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP
**Flacco is currently riding a five-game playoff winning streak, dating back to the 2012 playoffs in which Baltimore defeated San Francisco in the Super Bowl. Over that five-game span, Flacco has 13 touchdown passes and zero interceptions, 279.8 passing yards/game and a 106.2+ QB rating in each of those games.
**Quarterbacks he’s defeated during his streak: Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, Ben Roethlisberger.
**This will be his 15th career postseason start during his first seven years in the league, which will surpass Tom Brady’s record 14 postseason starts in his first seven NFL seasons.
**Flacco has drawn the most defensive pass interference calls out of any quarterback in the league this season (15). Brady is second with 11.
**The Ravens have won three straight road playoff games. Their last road playoff loss: to the Patriots, 23-20, on January 22, 2012.
**Joe has thrown 166 consecutive passes without an interception in the postseason, dating back to his historic 2012 postseason performance. It’s currently good enough for fourth on the all-time postseason list, behind Drew Brees (226), Joe Montana (179) and Steve Young (173), and just two ahead of Tom Brady’s 164 (from 2002-2004). Today he has a shot at surpassing Young and Montana for second on the list. Brees’ 226-pass streak is even in reach for Flacco this postseason. He’s in great company.
**Flacco’s seven road playoff victories is the most all-time by a quarterback in NFL postseason history.
Tom Brady, Patriots QB––15 NFL seasons
160-47 in the regular season (hasn’t missed a start since ’08)
18-8 in the postseason
3-time Super Bowl champion, two-time Super Bowl MVP
**Since his 2011 Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants, Brady has led the Patriots to a 2-2 postseason record, including a loss to these same Ravens.
**Brady is just two touchdown passes away from tying Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana for most in postseason history.
**No quarterback has more career postseason wins than Tom Brady’s 18, and head coach Bill Belichick is just one win shy of tying Tom Landry for most in NFL history (20).
**Brady has seven career game-winning drives in the playoffs. The other seven QBs left in the postseason (Flacco, Russell Wilson, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton) have a combined seven among them.
**Over his postseason career, Brady is 1-2 at home against the Ravens…he is 11-1 at Gillette Stadium against all other teams. In those three games against BAL, Brady has just three touchdowns with seven interceptions and has completed just 56% of his passes.
Our Prediction: It’s tough to pick against the Patriots while in Gillette Stadium in January, but it’s also tough to pick against Harbaugh’s Ravens squad, who have somehow managed to pull off victories against the top QBs in the game when January rolls around. They’re just one Sterling Moore pass break-up from being 3-0 against New England in the postseason, and after pulling off an upset over Pittsburgh on the road last week, we’ll take the Ravens to have a repeat performance this week, too. Ravens win, 24-21.
Photo: Elise Amendola/Associated Press