BOSTON (CBS) – The Patriots enjoyed their 41-28 Divisional Round win against the Texans, but the focus quickly shifted to the Baltimore Ravens following Sunday’s victory.
The Patriots and Ravens are very familiar with each other, with Sunday set to be their third playoff tilt — and sixth match up overall — over the last four seasons.
So in typical Patriot fashion there was plenty of praise for the Ravens, who on Saturday came back to beat the Broncos 38-35 in double-overtime in Denver to advance to their second AFC Championship in as many years.
“It’s like they’re in our division; we play those guys every year,” joked linebacker Jerod Mayo before shifting in to full-on Patriots mode. “These are the two teams that deserve to go to the AFC Championship Game, Baltimore and us. They are a great team, a lot of good players on both sides of the ball. It will be a challenge for us.”
“It’s going to be a tough, physical football game. They’re a really good team,” said receiver Wes Welker, who has taken a few hard hits in those meetings with the Ravens. “They really battled in that game against Denver. So it’s going to be a tough, physical game and we’ve got to get ready for it.”
Patriots On Upcoming AFC Championship vs. Ravens:
For an idea of what kind of game we’re looking at on Sunday, look no further than the Patriots last two meetings with the Ravens; a 31-30 Week 3 loss in Baltimore and their 23-20 AFC Championship win in Foxboro last January. Each game was decided by just a field goal — a make and a miss — and the Patriots are expecting Sunday’s game to be as close.
In their first meeting in Baltimore this season, the Patriots let two different six-point leads slip away. With the Ravens coming off another comeback win in Denver, the Pats know their frequent foe can never be ruled out in any game.
“Baltimore certainly deserves to be here and so do we, so it’s very fitting,” said quarterback Tom Brady. “We played them early in the year; they got us. We blew a pretty big lead there at the end. We’re going to have to play our best game this week.”
“We’ve had a lot of great games against them through the years,” head coach Bill Belichick said on Monday. “We know they’re a tough, formidable opponent wherever we play them. We know we’ll have our work cut out for us this week. We’ll have to play our best game. I think that’s the way it should be at this time of year.”
Tune in to the AFC Championship game at 6:30pm on Sunday on 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ-TV, or LISTEN LIVE on CBSBoston.com! Pregame coverage begins on WBZ with Patriots GameDay at 11:30am, and at 3pm on 98.5 with Patriots Preview. Following the game, tune in to three hours of coverage on the Sports Hub, and to Patriots 5th Quarter over on myTV38.