By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens should probably save money and not even make the trip to Denver for the divisional playoff game. That’s based on the world wide assumption that the Ravens are going to lose to Denver anyway. Many predict the game won’t even be close, but if it’s all the same to Ravens players, they’ll play the game just to make sure.
“One thing about it – the game has to be played,” said Ray Lewis on Tuesday. “No matter what anybody says or who they feel is going to win, you have to play the game on Sunday. That’s the way we feel – let the game play out. Because at the end of the day, some people are going to be right, and some people are going to be wrong.”
Lewis makes a strong point: No one will know what will happen until the game is played. No one expected the Ravens to lose to Pittsburgh in M&T Bank Stadium a few weeks ago when they were without Ben Roethlisberger. The parity in the NFL should not go unnoticed. But this goes beyond simply overcoming the odds on Saturday against Denver. Baltimore will field a team closely resembling the one that went 5-1 earlier this season. The Ravens held that strong record before their players began dropping like flies.
In the game against Denver, Baltimore was without Dannell Ellerbe, Ray Lewis, Bernard Pollard, Jameel McClain, Marshal Yanda and Ed Dickson. All will most likely be active for this playoff game. Coach Caldwell also called his first game as an offensive coordinator. That’s a lot of things to overcome against any team, let alone a unit as great as the Broncos. The Ravens should be relieved they only lost by 17 points that week. Baltimore is a completely different team now, and will look to spoil what many seem is a destined meeting between Brady and Manning in the AFC Championship.
Both teams realize that the Ravens will put on a much greater effort the second time around, but the Ravens also know how dangerous the Broncos really are.
“The Broncos are the most sound team in football right now,” stated Ray Rice. “We aren’t going to make any excuses, but I don’t want to go into that game letting their defense dictate how we play ball. We have a certain way we play around here. It’s playoff football. My biggest thing this week is how we execute. They are a great defense. They are a great team. They have earned the right to have their home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With all our ups and downs, we have earned the right to get another shot.”
The Ravens know that this game is bigger than just revenge, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t crossed the back of their minds heading into this divisional playoff game.
“[I’m] really looking forward to it,” stated Anquan Boldin, who’s attitude changed when the subject of Denver came up. “I was hoping we would get them. So, they’ll see us next week.”
When asked how they expect anything different to occur the second time around, his response was simply: “We’ll make it different.”
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.