The Ravens don’t have to win three straight road games to make the Super Bowl this time. Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger can’t knock them out.
The Ravens only need to defeat a fifth-round rookie quarterback in Baltimore to make the Conference Championship.
This is a new role for the Ravens in the Divisional Round. They are favorites.
ESPN.com’s lead story Wednesday had a graphic that said “Coast is clear” when describing the AFC playoff field. The accompanying article by Jamison Hensley says, “If [the Ravens] don’t reach the Super Bowl now, they might never do so under coach John Harbaugh.”
This all seems to take the Patriots (and Texans) a bit lightly, but we understand the point. New England’s defense is full of holes. Baltimore has confidence they can win in Foxborough in the playoffs after doing it in 2009.
“Every year, you can’t take for granted the fact that you are in the playoffs,” linebacker Jarrett Johnson told the Baltimore Sun. “You have to take advantage of that because you don’t know if you are ever going to make it again.”
There seems to be a greater sense of urgency for this Ravens team. They only had a bye one other time in the Ray Lewis era and lost to Peyton Manning 15-6 at home that year.
Lewis told Albert Breer of NFL.com this team is more complete than the Ravens’ title team. Terrell Suggs says this is “definitely” the best Ravens team he’s been a part of.
The expectations have been raised. Fair or not, anything short of a Super Bowl appearance from this Ravens team will be viewed as a massive disappointment.