Ravens warming up to underdogs role against Patriots
Playing at home this season, the New England Patriots are 7-2, including Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans. It puts the New England Patriots as 9½-point favorites in Sunday’s contest, just one step away from the Super Bowl.
The Baltimore Ravens have won their singular game this regular season against the New England Patriots and despite their surprising playoffs success the team hasn’t received much respect (except recently from Tom Brady). But Baltimore Ravens are just fine going in as underdogs and taking their rivals by surprise at Gillette Stadium.
“In here, on our team, we believe in ourselves. Whatever anyone else thinks, that’s their thoughts,” Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said Monday. “We’ll just have to go back out there and prove people wrong again.”
Apart from being motivated in Saturday’s game with the desire to send off retiring Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis with a Super Bowl ring, the Baltimore Ravens wished to advance to the next round to face the New England Patriots in a rematch of last year’s 23-20 AFC title loss in Foxborough, Mass.
“I think we personally kind of wanted to play the Patriots again,” said Haloti Ngata. “If we go to the Super Bowl, it would be great to go through Foxborough.”
“It will probably be one of the greatest victories in Ravens history. It’s partly because of the way everything was stacked up against us coming in,” declared Ray Lewis. “For us to come in here and win, 9- to 10-point underdogs, that’s the beautiful part about sports.”
“That’s the thing that, if I’ll probably miss anything about my career, it will be to listen to what people say you can’t do, and then to go do it.”
With the hype surrounding the game, the Baltimore Ravens have been trying not to let the widespread negativity or doubtfulness get to them.
“They are irrelevant,” said Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey. “None of you all thought we were going to be right here this week anyway.”
The Baltimore Ravens have worked against the general belief all season, and getting to the AFC title game as underdogs against the New England Patriots really isn’t an issue.
“The feeling we had in the locker room, I think we all wanted to get back to the AFC Championship,” recalled Haloti Ngata. “Hopefully we can get it done this time.”
Since the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens are usually amongst the top teams in the AFC, they’ve often faced off against each other. The New England Patriots are 7-2 (including 1-1 in playoffs) against the Baltimore Ravens, since the purple and gold were established in 1996.
“It’s definitely grown into quite a rivalry, we would like to say…It’s always a huge challenge for us, but it’s one we’re excited about and look forward to,” said Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “But we have tremendous respect for the New England Patriots. ... They just have a tremendous staff, tremendous players, tremendous tradition. “