Patriots vs Ravens: Aaron Hernandez Is X-Factor

When news broke that New England Patriots All-Pro Tight End Rob Gronkowski had suffered a broken forearm and would be placed on injured reserve, the entire state of Massachusetss hung their heads. This injury made the win versus the Houston Texans bittersweet however, his replacement is set to have a huge game versus the Baltimore Ravens in Sundays NFL AFC Championship game.

Gronkowski is Tom Brady’s favorite target as the big man hauled in 11 touchdowns along with 800 receiving yards in only 11 games in 2012. Luckily for Brady the gap from Gronkowski to Aaron Hernandez is not a drop off whatsoever. Hernandez played without Gronkowski for five games this season so he has become accustomed to be the #1 Tight End.

Versus the San Francisco 49ers in week 16 Hernandez caught 10 balls for 92 yards and a touchdown–Gronkowski was not active for this game.

Hernandez did not play week three when the Patriots visited Baltimore so, it will be a new experience for both Hernandez and the Ravens defenders.

When Gronkowski went down versus the Texans last week Hernandez knew he had to step up and he poured in quite the effort in a game where the Patriots put 42 points on the board–Hernandez in particular had six catches for 85 yards. Look for New England to light that scoreboard up again as the Raven defense has been on the field the most of any team remaining in the playoffs.

I expect Hernandez to go full-throttle versus the Ravens and be a big red zone target as the Patriots inch closer and closer to another Super Bowl.