I am not going to lie. The Ravens terrify me. Of all the teams in the draw to make the AFC Championship Game, Baltimore was the LAST team I wanted to see. The Ravens, for many years now, just seem to play the Pats better than anyone. Remember the undefeated ’07 regular season game against them, where the officials handed us the game? The ’09 Divisional Round laugher where Ray Rice murdered us within 15 seconds of kickoff for an 82 yard TD? Or last years AFC Title Bout where the Ravens should have won but Lee Evans dropped a sure TD and the Ravens special teams squad was poorly coached and they poorly executed? This team just flat out scares me.
Then there was earlier this season. The Pats led 27-21 going into the final stanza, built up several big leads. But those fucking Ravens just kept coming back, and aided by some dubious officiating from the scab officials (had it not been for the Seattle-Green Bay “Fail Mary” the following night, this game would have been the defining moment of the scabs) the Pats lost 31-30.
The Ravens do NOT fear the mighty Belichick-Brady Machine. They relish it. The best rivalry in football over most of the aughts, the decade 2000-2010, was Pats-Colts. Currently, the best rivalry is Pats-Ravens. Add in the specter of Ray Lewis, the original Raven murder….uh…draft pick, and Baltimore is going to be loaded for bear. I know for a fact Tom Brady will, but that may not be a good thing. Brady, with the weight of the franchise on his (questionably dressed) shoulders, has a tendency to press. He has not put up back to back quality playoff performances since 2004. He needs a transcendent one here, folks. I have confidence that Belichick will coach the “D” up like only he can, but we can only hope they don’t gag on the pressure. Baltimore has proven defensive big game performers. We have Vince Wilfork and not much else. Flacco has been DEADLY this postseason with passes beyond 20 yards, and that is the Patriots weakness.
I was wrong a week ago about the Texans. They were not ready, yet again, for primetime. No one should make the same mistake with this Ravens squad. With Ray Lewis’ brilliant career coming to an end, this team was built for primetime, and built to squash this Pats team.
Just know this: Brady will be ready.