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Baltimore was 30 seconds away from a Super Bowl berth, but a series of missed opportunities cost them everything as the Patriots stole one in Foxborough. Now, Baltimore will head back to the scene of the crime and look to avenge last years crushing defeat as well as earn a chance at the Vince Lombardi trophy.
The Ravens did what many thought was impossible when they defeated the top seeded Denver Broncos on Saturday. Fans should expect similar talk from experts when they analyze the match-up with the Patriots. But delve deeper into the showdown and you’ll see a Ravens squad primed for another major upset.
For the second straight season and the 3rd time in 5 years, the Ravens are headed to the AFC Championship game. They did this after being 10-point underdogs against the #1 seed in the NFL. There were plenty of players who showed up in this game. But the game belongs to Joe Flacco, who out dueled a future hall of famer in Peyton Manning.
Injuries have decimated this team this season. But the Ravens still found a way to claw themselves back into the divisional round of the postseason. Whether they choose to admit it, injuries had a lot to do with the beating they took at the hands of the Broncos in Week 14. That can no longer be an excuse as most of their starters will suit up for a blockbuster contest against Peyton Manning.
The Ravens have a tall task ahead of them: Defeat the No. 1 seeded Denver Broncos and avenge a brutal loss suffered at Denver’s hands a few weeks ago. The Ravens have the talent to beat anyone in the NFL, but to defeat a team like Denver, it will take a lot more than talent to get the job done.
The Ravens have been an inconsistent group in 2012. Ray Lewis hopes to steer this unit in the right direction when they travel to Denver to face the Broncos. Many analysts haven’t given this team much of a chance in this game. That’s probably because they’ll be going up against Peyton Manning, a man who they have never beat in the postseason.
Ray Lewis pointed out that the Ravens are rarely picked as favorites to win games in the postseason. And he has a point. Even against Indianapolis, many expected Baltimore to be one and done. But as Lewis has learned over the years, it’s probably a safe bet to play the game before anointing a winner.
The Ravens will face the Broncos nearly six days after an emotional victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The game itself was not as exciting as the drama that would unfold within it. Ray Lewis, a 17 year veteran, played his last game in the stadium he helped build. Though no Super Bowl has been won yet, he left the stadium a champion.
When Ray Lewis walked out of the tunnel, you knew there was no way Baltimore was going to lose. The fans were into it. The players were into it. The coaches were into it. The Ravens would not accept defeat. The defense was relentless and the offense was explosive. The Ravens beat the Colts 24-9 to set up a rematch against the Denver Broncos.
Ray Lewis will be playing his last game at M&T Bank stadium on Sunday. With everything that’s on the line, you can bet that the emotion in this game will reach an all time high. The winner moves on to the divisional round of the playoffs. And neither team has any intention of losing.
The Ravens strength and conditioning coach has had a season he wants to forget. A plethora of players have suffered nagging injuries that have cost Baltimore a multitude of games. Heading into the postseason however, the Ravens finally look as though they are getting healthy. It couldn’t come at a better time.
The Ravens have been in the Colts position before. 5 years ago, Baltimore won their first playoff game with both a rookie quarterback and head coach. This time, it’ll be up to Baltimore to stop this from happening at their expense. And it starts with slowing down Andrew Luck