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Ravens face new role as favorites

Ray Lewis AP

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.

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76 Responses to “Ravens face new role as favorites”
  1. dallasholeinroofcowboys says: Jan 12, 2012 6:14 PM

    Harbaugh may want to consider fighting fire with fire & use Flacco like Denver has been using Tebow.

    Might be Harbaugh’s only chance to see his brother in the Super Bowl.

  2. ChrisCicc says: Jan 12, 2012 6:14 PM

    Thank you ESPN for giving the Patriots all the bulletin board material they’ll need.

  3. jackybadass says: Jan 12, 2012 6:15 PM

    they will find a way to choke ! flacko is wacko!

  4. zackattack410 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:16 PM

    WE ARE, WE ARE, WE ARE, WE ARE THE RAVENS NATION!

  5. ampats says: Jan 12, 2012 6:21 PM

    “Baltimore has confidence they can win in Foxborough in the playoffs after doing it in 2009″

    The Ravens win ONE GAME in the history of their franchise against New England and that is all everyone points too.

    Guess the world will see next Sunday in Foxborough.

    Ravens history against New England 1-6, New England may just prove the Steelers L Woodley right !

  6. towniesman says: Jan 12, 2012 6:24 PM

    1 week before the ugliest man in football starts his I hate Tom Brady rants……ya thats you T-Fizzle

  7. ballsooharduniversity says: Jan 12, 2012 6:25 PM

    it doesn’t take the pats lightly at all. its saying that the ravens have shown that they can beat anyone at anytime, but they kill themselves more than teams kill them

  8. pats1995 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:29 PM

    Winners win when the world bears no mind

  9. ravenator says: Jan 12, 2012 6:29 PM

    Haters gonna hate. Ravens will be representing the AFC in the superbowl, bank on it.

  10. mrplow3 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:30 PM

    The Ravens just seem to be that team that consistenly wins during the regular season but you know you can always count on them to stink it up in the playoffs.

    I think I actually prefer the Billick years. Atleast they would win big or lose big. I prefer the swings. it’s more exciting.

  11. cyraider says: Jan 12, 2012 6:32 PM

    ^Haha! Ravens nation? U really tried that? The only true Nation is in Oakland sir…

  12. reed20fence says: Jan 12, 2012 6:32 PM

    If the phrase “any given Sunday” applies to anything, it applies to the playoffs and we saw that last week in Denver.

    All of these teams have dome SOMETHING to be where they are at this time of year.

    It was an article yesterday that pointed out that just as many teams in as many years of the playoffs have won on the road as have won at home.

    Heck, the Raven’s own history proves that bye weeks and crowd noise only matter for about minutes in certain games, and then it’s just your talent versus their talent.

    My advice to my Ravens, DON’T take any team for granted. Maybe the best thing to happen to us this season was losing to mediocre teams. Learn your lesson from Tennessee, Seattle, Jacksonville and San Diego.

    Our worst opponents aren’t the 31 other teams in this league. It’s coming out flat without any motivation to fight back. It’s why we’re untouchable at home.

    Raven Nation refuses to quit on you!

  13. jc1958cool says: Jan 12, 2012 6:33 PM

    don’t they have to beat the texans first? upset time

  14. daytonaken says: Jan 12, 2012 6:35 PM

    Worried me today that Flacco talked about himself and not the team or the game. I ‘m a Raven fan, but have seen this team lose focus.

  15. mdagnew1 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:35 PM

    If you think this is smack talk, you are a moron.

    Its obvious this is the best chance the Ravens have at a Super Bowl. Manning and Big Ben are gone. They are playing a third string rookie this week and would go to NE to play a team with the worst D in the league.

    The defense is getting old… the window is closing and this is the best chance they have of finally getting to another Super Bowl.

    Its not smack …its common sense..

  16. broomehandle says: Jan 12, 2012 6:35 PM

    Cue the joe flacco jokes…ravens all the way baby

  17. goldrush36 says: Jan 12, 2012 6:42 PM

    Houston has done some very amazing things this year especially considering the injuries. However I think class will be in full session at Ball So Hard University this weekend. Yates is gonna be under some duress and the Ravens are unbeaten against teams with winning records. Ravens 24 Texans 23

  18. sterilizecromartie says: Jan 12, 2012 6:42 PM

    “This all seems to take the Patriots (and Texans) a bit lightly”
    ———-
    And the Broncos.

  19. galvestontexans says: Jan 12, 2012 6:45 PM

    GO TEXANS!!!!!

  20. jamaltimore says: Jan 12, 2012 6:49 PM

    Hensley used to write for the Baltimore Sun so he’s seen a lot of Ravens team and understands the history. What he says is correct but the Ravens have won the Division twice and lost both home playoff games 04 to Air Mcnair and 06 to Peyton under Billick. They are 0-2 at home since the wildcard win in 00 and many of the guys on today’s d still remember the loss to the Colts in 06. Devastating and I think they’ll be ready this time despite a good Houston team coming to town. As for the next week they’ll figure that out that next week!

    Having ex Baltimore Colt Raymond Berry hand the Superbowl trophy to Ray Lewis would be sweet!

    Black and Purple!

  21. norcalmafia says: Jan 12, 2012 6:54 PM

    Looking forward to the Harbowl 2!

  22. knowerofallthings says: Jan 12, 2012 6:55 PM

    It’s destiny!

  23. greglloydrules says: Jan 12, 2012 7:00 PM

    As long as Joe Crappo is QB, they’ll never reach a Super Bowl. It’s an offensive league now and defense will only get you so far. Not enough talent on offense.

  24. fittytuckin says: Jan 12, 2012 7:02 PM

    Terrell Uggs

  25. charlsyc says: Jan 12, 2012 7:10 PM

    How about them RAVENS baby!!!!!!!!!!

  26. raider23mike says: Jan 12, 2012 7:25 PM

    Ravens / Saints in Indy.

    Ravens.. A chance to win the Superbowl in the city their ex(Baltimore Colts) plays in.

    Saints, Drew Brees Returns as if he still was in Purdue

  27. profootballwalk says: Jan 12, 2012 7:27 PM

    “Having ex Baltimore Colt Raymond Berry hand the Superbowl trophy to Ray Lewis would be sweet!”

    Why would a former Colts player and Patriots coach hand a Raven a trophy?

  28. bigtimetexanfan says: Jan 12, 2012 7:30 PM

    TEXANS WIN 19-17 ON A FLACCO PICK 6 !!!!

  29. 6ball says: Jan 12, 2012 7:32 PM

    .

    Glad you reference the Patriots -Ravens playoff game from 2009. I’ve begun a list of Pats players responsible for the loss : Gronkowski, Hernandez, Branch, Welker, McCourty, Spikes, Ridley, Solder, Waters, Love, Vollmer, Anderson, among others. Why are they responsible? Because they weren’t there.

    Games from two years ago don’t matter. The Patriots and Ravens are very different teams with many new players.

    .

  30. conewalker says: Jan 12, 2012 7:35 PM

    Thing about the Ravens win in 2009 was they were up 24-0 after one quarter. Seriously, look it up, they were up 21-0 halfway into the damn quarter. Just harassed Tom and they couldn’t do anything.

    And yes, it was their only win, but last year the Ravens lost a close game in over-time at New England. In 2007, the Patriots 16-0 season, they lost to N.E. in one of the biggest screw-job officiating games of all time.

    Ravens will make the Super Bowl…bet on it. 2011 Ravens 6-0 vs. 10 win teams.

    Patriots don’t have a win against a team over .500 all year!

  31. edgarpoe2 says: Jan 12, 2012 7:35 PM

    On paper, I also believe the Ravens are the favorites. But football games are not won on paper. Any team that is still alive has a chance to win it all. It all depends on determination and breaks.

    With that said, congrats to the teams that have gotten this far. May the playoffs continue. :)

  32. mightyleemoon says: Jan 12, 2012 7:45 PM

    According to this article and the comments, the Broncos might as Well stay home this weekend.

  33. soxpatsbscelts says: Jan 12, 2012 7:52 PM

    Ray Lewis = killer

  34. lbijake says: Jan 12, 2012 7:53 PM

    “Having ex Baltimore Colt Raymond Berry hand the Superbowl trophy to Ray Lewis would be sweet! ”

    Then ray stabs him and runs away with the trophy. His lawyer gets him off the charges.

  35. mistersmith22 says: Jan 12, 2012 7:58 PM

    greglloydrules says:
    Jan 12, 2012 7:00 PM
    As long as Joe Crappo is QB, they’ll never reach a Super Bowl. It’s an offensive league now and defense will only get you so far. Not enough talent on offense.

    Not enough talent on offense? A great line (except for Oher’s hobby of collecting yellow laundry), the best RB in the playoffs, the best FB in football, one of the best possession/tough-guy receivers over the last few years in Boldin, the fastest deep threat in the NFL Torrey Smith, another proven deep threat in a finally healthy Lee Evans, two tight ends that have great hands and get open in Dickson and Pitta…and Flacco, who’s not top 5 but you’d be hard pressed to keep him out of the top 10, especially when he’s on like in PIT twice this year.

    And if Defense doesn’t matter anymore, what are DEN and SF doing still hanging around?

  36. heyzeus143 says: Jan 12, 2012 8:19 PM

    it’s Baltimore gentlemen, the gods will not save you

  37. test2402 says: Jan 12, 2012 8:29 PM

    Yo. The ravens will be playing the broncos. Tim Tebow dominates.

  38. louiegrandie says: Jan 12, 2012 8:46 PM

    If all the Ravens are thinking about is what is going to happen in New England they will lose to Houston.

  39. bigbabies says: Jan 12, 2012 8:47 PM

    Thumbs up if you think the Ravens get beat and Ray Lewis goes to jail, where he belongs!

  40. purpleattack says: Jan 12, 2012 8:48 PM

    It’s really beyond me, I just don’t understand how Flacco gets so much hate. He is borderline top 10 QB IMHO, which is better than MOST teams in the NFL have. All the people that think that the Ravens win in spite of him, do you guys not remember the Boller era? His record for the 4 years he’s been in the league is best EVER by a QB, it’s not a fluke people. Yes the Ravens are a good team, but he is also a good QB. He’s not the best, not great, he is good.

  41. responsiblechild says: Jan 12, 2012 8:48 PM

    If everything goes as it should..(which it almost never does)…It could be a couple of GREAT conference championship games. Baltimore will need to shut down the Patriots offense nd score a few of their own. No doubt they will.EVERYONE scores with the Pats. (except Tebow…He is a Christian..)

  42. dabengals13 says: Jan 12, 2012 8:53 PM

    Why is the AFC even playing the games this weekend? Everyone is underestimating the donks and the texans. But of course everyone knew that Denver was gonna beat the Stealers last week too… Right?

  43. vincentbojackson says: Jan 12, 2012 8:59 PM

    Don’t tell Flacco they’re the favorites. That guy’s more insecure than a teenage girl trying to get a seat at the “cool table” in the cafeteria.

  44. lemmam says: Jan 12, 2012 9:09 PM

    why all the ‘love’ for ray lewis? wasn’t he involved in a murder?

  45. discosucs2005 says: Jan 12, 2012 9:11 PM

    Ok, the Raven Nation thing has got to stop. I know every team uses it, but it just sounds way to similar to Raider Nation.

  46. patriotsssss says: Jan 12, 2012 9:20 PM

    If the Patriots are a joke on defense, then the Ravens are a joke on offense. That offense completely sucks. Ray Rice beating the Patriots again? Not going to happen. This time Welker will be here plus our two tight ends. Ben Watson was a joke..

    Pats beat Ravens easily… Ray Rice/Boldin Vs Welker/Gronk/Aaron/Branch + Brady = Pats going to the super bowl.

  47. edgerules says: Jan 12, 2012 9:35 PM

    People are underestimating the donks? LOL I don’t know what ESPN shows anyone else here is watching, but people are pretty much are having them beating the Pats, or hoping they do, so ESPN can talk about that Tebow dude some more, as if they don’t talk about him enough.

    If any team is getting disrespected, it’s New England. I mean, “The Coast is clear” for the Ravens, the most overrated team in the AFC? Seriously?

    Any team can be beaten. It is why it’s called “Any Given Sunday.”

  48. rayriceisnice says: Jan 12, 2012 9:40 PM

    I can’t wait till you other dumb nfl have your sock in your mouth like the jets texans steelers and cincy fans after we whooped all of them. Ravens are the team to beat, there’s no argument.

  49. jr4real says: Jan 12, 2012 9:54 PM

    I know this is blasphemous but im pulling or the Ravens as a steeler fan. They def dont get the credit they deserve. Yes the blew games they should have won but i hope they kick denver and ne out of the stadium.

  50. commandercornpone says: Jan 12, 2012 10:06 PM

    i see rabids winning. i dont see them covering. if yates is rattled, the texans have alternatives.

    rabids couldnt pound cincy by 21.

  51. dawhorsefeathers says: Jan 12, 2012 10:30 PM

    Anyone who thinks Baltimore’s “window is closing” because Ray and Ed are close to retiring is delusional. You call call Birk, McKinnie, Lewis, Reed and Redding old, but that’s it. One more good draft in 2012 and the pieces continue to be there. If you want to see a window closing, head to western PA, also known as cap hell.

  52. beauregard says: Jan 12, 2012 10:39 PM

    LOL at the Ravens looking forward to the Patriots already. Predictable and typical of both teams.
    I feel MUCH better about Denver and Houston after reading this.

  53. ezg1 says: Jan 12, 2012 10:45 PM

    Dirty Birds better figure out a plan to cover up for the deficiencies created by continuing to play Lewis. The guys play has fallen off the cliff to a point where it’s difficult to watch him attempt to man his position. The Raven are a well coached and managed team, and hopefully they have a back up plan because the window is closing!

  54. roberts09 says: Jan 12, 2012 10:56 PM

    I dont see the ravens winning this game. They are way to confident. ESPN has already put them in the super bowl. Terrell Suggs has been talkin smack since the payoffs started. Now Joe Flacco is going to press because he wants credit for a win and wants to try and prove he is an elite quarterback. I expect him to try and throw alot of deep balls to Torry Smith and try to rack up yardage. I think the texans shut down Ray Rice and make Flacco throw the ball even more. I think the ravens will try and start fast and turn the ball over witch will turn the crowd off. Texans win 24-17

  55. rogerbrad says: Jan 12, 2012 11:02 PM

    Anybody know which team is going to show up on Sunday???

  56. reedhof20 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:29 AM

    Yeah that’s all we have is RR and Tory Smith. Keep thinking that way – and go look at the stats and see who tore your secondary a new xxx last time. TRY BOLDEN, not to mention Pitta, Dixon, R. Williams, Evans, Leach,, Yeah “Roberts09,” that’s all you have to worry about is Smith. You should hope your dc has more brains than you.

  57. reedhof20 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:36 AM

    You know you are in bad shape when you have to COUNT on mistakes by the other team to win, i.e. Flacco throws pick sixes, etc… you know man-to-man, straight-up, you are toast.
    FYI, didn’t the Texans lose to the Colts????? I’d be far more concerned with that little piece of info than the Ravens losing to the Jags/Titans/Seahawks/Chargers on the road.
    See Ya Sunday!!!

  58. bmoreballbuster says: Jan 13, 2012 1:36 AM

    PEOPLE, you can take it to the (M&T) bank: Ravens have been hungrily waiting for a home playoff game for all too long. It truly doesn’t matter whom the opponent, come Sunday the Purple&Black will shine. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. RAVENS forever more!

  59. bearsstillsuck says: Jan 13, 2012 4:21 AM

    They will without a doubt, find a way to lose.

  60. wldkat says: Jan 13, 2012 5:13 AM

    I can’t wait for Baltimore to lose. I respect your run game. I respect your defense. But with that 2nd string QB of yours, You aren’t winning the superbowl.

  61. sudz28 says: Jan 13, 2012 6:28 AM

    @conewalker, that wasn’t an officiating screw up – the Ravens only lost that game because Rex Ryan, then defensive coordinator of the Ravens, called a timeout at the last millisecond when the Ravens stopped the Pats on a 4th-down play which would have absolutely cemented a Ravens victory. NO WAIT! GENIUS RYAN CALLED A TIMEOUT! Even the Ravens players were furious, they had actually stopped Brady and won the game – but their own coach gave the Patriots a second chance. They then converted the first down, scored a TD to take the lead and only left :44 seconds on the clock. It was a Patriots win, but the Ravens beat themselves with that STUPID STUPID Rex Ryan timeout on 4th and 1.

  62. ham1 says: Jan 13, 2012 6:55 AM

    Let me say
    I cannot stand the ravens

    That said, if they hand the ball off to ray rice and stay with that they increase their chances of winning a superbowl.

    If they rely on flako then its a crap shoot
    I hope they lose

    There that feels better

  63. BernardPollardIsAnAss says: Jan 13, 2012 6:56 AM

    Prepare to be disappointed.

  64. citnetter says: Jan 13, 2012 7:32 AM

    Wow… An article about the Ravens potentially getting to the Super Bowl and 95% of the people posting comments are talking about how the Broncos and Patriots are getting disrespected. It looks to me like the Texans are the ones getting disrespected (from the media and the public). As for the article, the Texans are far more than a rookie 5th round draft pick. Besides, that rookie 5th round draft pick just outplayed a rookie 2nd round draft pick, and he certainly has the tools, capability and offensive weapons to outplay Flacco – who isn’t exactly Aaron Rodgers. This will be a tough battle, but the “Ravens Nation” (LOL!) better hope the actual players aren’t looking ahead.

  65. wikidpissah says: Jan 13, 2012 7:55 AM

    conewalker says: Jan 12, 2012 7:35 PM

    Thing about the Ravens win in 2009 was they were up 24-0 after one quarter. Seriously, look it up, they were up 21-0 halfway into the damn quarter. Just harassed Tom and they couldn’t do anything.

    And yes, it was their only win, but last year the Ravens lost a close game in over-time at New England. In 2007, the Patriots 16-0 season, they lost to N.E. in one of the biggest screw-job officiating games of all time.

    Ravens will make the Super Bowl…bet on it. 2011 Ravens 6-0 vs. 10 win teams.

    Patriots don’t have a win against a team over .500 all year!
    ====================================
    The Pats were also down 21-0 to the Bills in their last game, and scored 49 straight from that point on. The 2009 Pats had locker room issues that they’ve resolved. Chief among them A Thomas.

    The reason the Ravens lost the 2007 game was that before they stopped the Pats on a fourth down that would have closed out the game, their genius defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, called a time out. The Pats converted on the next play and the rest is history.

    I wouldn’t bet too much. If the game was in Baltimore it would be a much better bet. The Ravens are a different team away from home, and as scary as the Pats’ defense has been this year, Flacco is exactly the type of quarterback who will help them with poor passes and turnovers, which is the area the Pats excel in.

    If it happens it will be fun. I can already picture T Spizzle spitting all over a mic about how he hates Tom Brady.

  66. rockthered1286 says: Jan 13, 2012 8:07 AM

    Let’s clarify: Ray is aging, but by no means is he a detriment to the team. Hell, NE would kill to have a player like Ray on their 32nd ranked D! And lets throw the stat out there:
    Bal v. playoff teams: 6-0 (Hou, Pit x2, Cin x2, SF)
    NE v. playoff teams: 1-2 (W over Den, L to Pit, NYG)
    So what type of teams were able to beat NE? Solid D, good running game. And what are the Ravens? Solid D, good running game. I’m not saying it’s going to be a 31-0 blowout (assuming we get to NE and Denver falters) but for every dellusional Pats fan out there who thinks the Ravens O is weak (12th in the league is SOOO weak) and their D is not so good, think twice. You’d be pressed to find a more difficult matchup in the AFC this year.

  67. southpaw2k says: Jan 13, 2012 8:11 AM

    patriotsssss says:
    Jan 12, 2012 9:20 PM
    If the Patriots are a joke on defense, then the Ravens are a joke on offense. That offense completely sucks. Ray Rice beating the Patriots again? Not going to happen. This time Welker will be here plus our two tight ends. Ben Watson was a joke..

    Pats beat Ravens easily… Ray Rice/Boldin Vs Welker/Gronk/Aaron/Branch + Brady = Pats going to the super bowl.

    ————————————————

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

    Seriously, thanks for the good laugh there, man. I’m not sure I’ve laughed that hard all week. I love how you left out Torrey Smith, Dickson, Pitta, and Leach on the Ravens’ offense. Granted, the Pats have a major edge at QB, but that’s the one significant edge they have. Plus, you left out the major flaw in your so-called logic that the Ravens defense can get in Brady’s face all day long and suffocate your receivers. If/when the Ravens travel to New England for the AFC Championship Game, I’d feel really good about the Ravens’ chances in that game.

  68. purpleattack says: Jan 13, 2012 8:17 AM

    @rogerbrad, apparently there are dozens of people right above your post that know which team is going to show up. I’m just glad the games are played on Sunday and not using a keyboard.

  69. melikefootball says: Jan 13, 2012 8:26 AM

    Now that the Steelers lost, Baltimore can see some daylight this year.

  70. ravenut06 says: Jan 13, 2012 8:32 AM

    I love how when somebody has nothing of importance to say or say anything at all they always refer to Ray Lewis murder. Drop it its over just like the Ben case and the Steeler season……DONE AND OVER!!!!! As for the Raven Nation……big shout out to The West Wing checkin out the games at The Parlor in Hollywood and South Sports Bar in Santa Monica.

  71. supashug says: Jan 13, 2012 8:58 AM

    The Ravens are probably hoping the Pats win over Tebow but I doubt they will. He will run and throw all over the Pats sucky defense

    and the Ravens didnt beat the Pats in 2009, they embarrased them. That will happen again if they play as the Pats havent gotten any better.

  72. hushbrother says: Jan 13, 2012 9:11 AM

    If they don’t get to the Super Bowl this year, then in all likelihood for Harbaugh and the Ravens, nevermore.

  73. plastics017 says: Jan 13, 2012 9:47 AM

    Its usually not a good idea to give Tom Brady and the Patriots any extra motivation than usual. The fact that they think they’re going to walk into the Superbowl game will be excellent posterboard material for the Pats to beat the crap out of them this year. After all, they did lose to the Seahawks and Jaguars…

  74. wikidpissah says: Jan 13, 2012 10:13 AM

    rockthered1286 says: Jan 13, 2012 8:07 AM

    Let’s clarify: Ray is aging, but by no means is he a detriment to the team. Hell, NE would kill to have a player like Ray on their 32nd ranked D!
    =================================
    Any team would like to have a player like Ray Lewis.

    The Packers have the 32nd ranked defense. The Patriots are 31. That is of course using total yardage. This would be like the NHL replacing Goals Against with Shots on Goal.

    If you go by points allowed, which is what really matters, the Patriots are 15th.

  75. bunkmcnulty says: Jan 13, 2012 11:19 AM

    Kinda of funny all the Baltimore and NE smack talk. Last I checked neither team had even played the game that could pit them against each other the following week.

    Relax. You idiots prone to your smack talk, you’ll have all whole week after the games this weekend. My oh my, shooting your wad this early must leave a lot of frustrated partners out there!

  76. rockthered1286 says: Jan 13, 2012 1:21 PM

    @wikidpissah

    You make a valid point. Let me counter from an O-side of things: 10 or the 16 games the Ravens have played this year have been against the top 9 D in ppg. We’ve gone 8-2. NE has faced only Pitt (#1 and lost) and Miami (#6) of the top 9 D in ppg. They’ve gone 2-1.

    NE is also 31st in Pass YPG. Baltimore? 4th.

    Rush D? NE 17th, Bal 2nd.

    To say NE has not played the calibur D of the Ravens this year is an understatement. the only top 5 D they’ve played was a loss to Pittsburgh (who we’ve beaten in Pitt and at home). And otherwise a few games against bottom dwellers like Buffalo (30th ppg) and a disappointing Jets D this year (20th ppg). Not saying NE would fizzle with our schedule this year offensively, BUT those stats would not be nearly as inflated to have the schedule we did against the D’s we’ve played. And to come out of it 12th in ppg offensively (0.2 away from breaking top 10) I’d say our O is extremely capable against the atrocious D of NEm moreso than NE against our stout D.

    I’d also like to mention PPG on D can be skewed by the fact that teams are forced to throw when NE goes up big, leaving their D to drop back in pass coverage and not focus on the run. Thus NE’s 8 FF’s v. Bal’s 20. Makes teams 1 dimensional. Also the reason for the high interceptions, when you can sit and wait on it. Won’t be able to do that against the Ravens.

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