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Patriots getting ready to stop Ravens' Flacco

Wednesday - 1/18/2012, 5:45pm  ET

By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots know running back Ray Rice is the Baltimore Ravens' biggest offensive threat. They also know they can't underestimate Joe Flacco.

Flacco isn't considered among the NFL's elite, but he's the first quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to reach the playoffs in each of his first four pro seasons. This season he is 7-0 against four playoff teams.

Those four were among the top seven in the league in fewest yards allowed. In Sunday's AFC championship game, Flacco will go against a Patriots defense that allowed the second most yards in the regular season.

But it's been better recently and is back at full strength with the return of safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Brandon Spikes after each missed seven straight games.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)