I have been so fortunate to have covered the biggest games in Ravens history. I define “Big” as 2 Super Bowls and 4 AFC Championship Games. But Saturday’s date in Foxboro (my preferred spelling) is also big.
The Ravens are a touchdown underdog, they don’t have a Ray Lewis Or Ed Reed to lead them. Much Less, Jimmy Smith, Dennis Pitta or Rick Wagner. They have had trouble beating excellent teams on the road. And oh, they’ve dealt with a few scandals along the way.
Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t have the same feel as past playoff runs. Ravens fans might be a bit spoiled after enjoying playoff football in 6 of the last 7 years. Or, they might not believe this team is capable of pulling an upset. Maybe it’s the frigid weather but you certainly don’t see as many flags on cars as in the past. Jaded? Or just not in the mood after so many obstacles this season?
It’s a good thing the players or coaches don’t share that sentiment. There are over 25 players and coaches with Super Bowl rings on the roster, that can’t be underestimated. Neither can the Patriots motivation. They will be coming off a bye week and completely healthy. That means Rob Gronkowski is going to play and he’s a difference maker.
The Ravens have dominated every playoff game at “Patriot’s Place” but I am predicting Saturday will be different. New England is probably upset with all the chatter about Baltimore’s winning history there and that will certainly motivate them. Then again, an unforeseen fumble or interception – or sack, can always change the outcome. But each time this year I’ve picked against them, I have been wrong (New Orleans and Pittsburgh most recently).
Hope I’m wrong again.
Patriots 31 Ravens 21
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