BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens have a knack for meeting each other in the postseason.
For the second year in a row, the two will face off at Gillette Stadium with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. And for the second year in a row, the Patriots are hoping they will be the ones triumphant in the usually-close affairs they’ve become accustomed to when the purple birds from Baltimore line up across from them.
“We’re playing against a great football team that obviously deserves the right to be here. We know how challenging of a team they are, both schematically and personnel-wise,” New England quarterback Tom Brady said on Wednesday.
Brady is very familiar with the Ravens defense, boasting a 4-1 regular season record against Baltimore. But he’s just 1-1 against them in the playoffs, and hasn’t fared well in the stats department. Brady threw for just 154 yards and three interceptions in the Patriots 33-14 Wild Card loss back in 2009, and threw two more picks and no touchdowns in last year’s AFC Championship game — the last game he hasn’t found the end zone through the air.
“I think they have a lot of playmakers at each level of the defense. It’s not like you beat this team 50-0; it’s always a tight game,” said Brady. “It’s never easy. There never is an easy throw, and there won’t be an easy throw this weekend. They really challenge you, and that’s why they’re in this game. We’ll see if our guys can step up to that challenge.”
“They’re not just going to hand you the ball and hand you points, hand you easy scores,” Brady added. “They’re great in the red area, great on third down. They really make you earn it. That’s the mindset, and what we really need to be able to do over the next few days.”
On Wednesday, New England head coach Bill Belichick also spoke of the tight battles his Patriots have had with the Ravens, including their 31-30 loss in Baltimore in Week 3 during the regular season.
“We’re playing a team that we had a great game with earlier in the season. It came down to the last play, and we don’t really expect anything much less than that this time around,” said Belichick.
Tale Of The Tape: Patriots vs. Ravens
“They’ve shown that they can handle difficult situations, whether it’s playing on the road, or the double-overtime game last week against Denver, or whatever the challenges are, they stand up to them,” he added. “They’re as good as any team we’ve played this year, better than most, and I think that’s the way it should be.”
“The big thing about the Ravens is they play good when they’ve got to play good. When they’ve got to make plays, they make plays,” he said. “They’ve been in a lot of close games and they’ve won a lot of close games and I think that’s really what it’s all about. Some other stats and all, you can do whatever you want with them, but it comes down to being able to make a play when you need to make a play, whether that’s score or stop the other team from scoring or make a kick or block a kick or return a kick or whatever it is. It’s doing what you need to do to win and they do a lot of that, so that’s why they’re a good football team.”
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.