Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni on Friday morning to preview the NFL’s conference championship weekend.
King, who predicts a 31-26 Patriots victory over the Ravens, is leaving open the possibility of an upset.
“The Patriots have been so good in these championship games, so consistent,” King said. “It’s not going to be their mistake that’s going to beat them, if history is a judge. It’s going to be the Ravens playing well if they win.”
Joe Flacco ‘s ability to test the Patriots secondary with the long ball is one of the keys to this game.
“I just think he’s a very good deep-ball thrower,” King said. “Throwing the deep ball twice to Torrey Smith  and once to Jacoby Jones  six days ago is why the Ravens won that game. If he doesn’t take chances downfield, they’re sitting home right now and it’s New England going to play at Denver on Sunday.
“We talk about players, who’s elite, who’s not elite — I don’t know who’s elite and who isn’t. All I know is that in this game — I don’t think Joe Flacco’s ever going to have the kind of great completion percentage or anything like that that’s going to make him one of the top-rated quarterbacks, but I believe that his team is always going to have a chance for a very simple reason: He’s fearless about throwing the ball deep and he’s the best deep-ball thrower both on percentage and in yardage in the NFL this year.
“I think the Patriots secondary is really going to have a lot to do with whether they move on.”
On the other side of the ball, the aging Baltimore defense will attempt to contain New England’s uptempo offense.
“They better have a lot left in their tank,” King said of the Ravens. “After having a much tougher road in the playoffs, obviously, than New England has had, they better have a pass rush on [Tom] Brady left, particularly when it comes to Paul Kruger. I think he’s the guy that — because right now Terrell Suggs  just really isn’t himself, and I don’t know that he is going to be himself in this postseason at all — I think they have to rely on Paul Kruger to get to Tom Brady  and do some damage. ‘¦ In my opinion, that’s going to have a lot to do with who wins and loses this game — how much the Ravens have left in their tank.”
In the NFC, King is predicting the 49ers  to knock off the Falcons.
“I was at [the Falcons-Seahawks] game on Sunday, and I just watched Russell Wilson run around, throw, get loose, be a weapon — he accounted for 446 yards,” King said. “To me, the closest guy to Russell Wilson playing right now is Colin Kaepernick. ‘¦ I look at the Atlanta defense, and how much were they able to get to Russell Wilson in that game — hardly at all, especially in the second half, they were absolutely ineffective.”
Added King: I guess I’m a little bit smitten with what I saw Saturday night against the Packers , watching the Packers just flail away and be totally unable to stop Kaepernick.”
To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page . For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots . WEEI-FM 93.7 will broadcast the AFC championship game between the Patriots and Ravens on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.