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FOXBORO (CBS) – On Saturday, all will be quiet in Foxboro.
Sunday, that should be a different story.
Thanks to the Patriots 13-3 regular season record, Sunday’s AFC Championship against the Ravens will be in the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots have a walk-through scheduled for Saturday, and the only ones in the stadium for that will be a few grounds workers.
But the Pats are expecting a much noisier collection of people Sunday afternoon. The fans braved the frigid temps last Saturday night against the Broncos, and with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, the Patriots faithful should be even more amped up.
“It’s going to be better than last week. It was great last week. Now, you know, this might be the highest,” said receiver Deion Branch, who has done plenty for the crowd to cheer about over his six-plus-years with New England. ”We’ve got the best fans in the world, and I promise you I know they’ll be there, full in effect, loud, and ready to go, backing the team.”
“There was definitely a lot of energy this past time around,” receiver Wes Welker said Friday. ”I think playoffs definitely get people excited and we’re going to need them excited for this game. This is to go to the Super Bowl. It’s a big deal. It’s the AFC Championship Game and we’re going to need them all.”
Welker, who has had a strong following since he arrived in New England in 2007, is banking on more than a few fans sporting his patented “Playoff ‘Stache.”
“Hopefully they’re all wearing mustaches when they do it,” he joked.
Of course the Patriots know they have to give the crowd a reason to cheer. Last time these two teams met in the playoffs, the Ravens took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, leaving the Gillette fans speechless.
“We have to give them something to cheer for,” said corner Devin McCourty. ”We have to play hard and as long as we’re playing hard, our fans will be there for us.”
As for the Patriots themselves, while they want to hear the roars of the crowd and feel Gillette shaking as they await kickoff, they’re going to try and stay calm and collected until they emerge from the tunnel.
“You want to stay calm and you want to stay cool until game time so you are ready and everything, especially against these guys,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said Friday.
The words “Gronkowski” and “calm” don’t usually find themselves together too often, but he justifies this instance rather nicely.
“Their energy they bring with their defense and everything, they are always going full speed and 100-percent. You have to save up all of your energy so when it comes to the game you can match them and be out there with them,” he explained.
Tune in to the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens Sunday, January 22 at 3pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins with a special two-hour Patriots GameDay on WBZ at 11:00am, with Patriots Preview beginning at noon on the Hub!