For the third time in four seasons, the Ravens and Patriots will do battle in the AFC Playoffs, this time it’s first Divisional game of the biggest NFL weekend of the year, and this time instead of a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, it’s for a trip to the AFC Title game the following weekend vs either the Colts or Broncos.
The two teams have traded barbs over the years, but at the end of the day, each one this week is keeping it pretty clean as they get set to take the field yet again in New England.
“Our focus is on the game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We have enough to worry about with the opponent we’re going to play, how well-coached they are, how good their players are.”
The Ravens won the playoff battle the last time around, winning a trip to the Super Bowl in which they were able to win the famous “Harbaugh Bowl,” topping the San Francisco 49’ers and John’s brother Jim in the game two years back.
Now as the clubs meet yet again, the main players in the storylines are the same – Tom Brady for the Pats, and for the Ravens, players like Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs, who still to this day won’t say Brady’s name in interviews.
When asked who the QB for the Pats was during an interview, Suggs simply responded “He’s the quarterback for the New England Patriots.”
The Ravens remain behind the eight-ball according to move lines, as The Standard has them as underdogs for Saturday, as well as 15/2 underdogs to win the AFC, and 17/1 to win the Super Bowl.
This battle could once again come down to who wins the QB battle, as the last time around, Flacco was just a bit better than Brady, and the Ravens won.
In the 2011 and 2012 AFC Championship Games combined, Flacco completed 59.8 percent of his passes (43-of-72) for 546 yards with five touchdowns and one interception (100.8 passer rating).
Brady connected on 56.6 percent of his throws (51-of-90) for 559 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions (60.3 rating).
“It’s not really me outdueling Tom or him outdueling me,” Flacco said. “We’re not playing against each other.”
True, but it appears while both teams have been are busy this week talking about how much they like one another, it’s going to come down to a simple fact on Saturday – execution.