Pats offense meets Ravens defense for AFC title

By Howard Ulman

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 21 2012 4:01 p.m. MST

"That's why communication in these games is so vital and not going crazy and overthinking things — just getting lined up and playing — because you can get anything. You don't know what you're going to get."

The last playoff game between the teams two years ago was a huge surprise with the Ravens offense dominating.

Ray Rice scored on an 83-yard run on the first offensive play and Brady threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in the first quarter. The Ravens took a 24-0 lead into the second and won 33-14.

"We don't really care too much about what's happened in the past. We've won some, we've lost some, but right now this team is focused with the Ravens," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "That's really all that matters. I don't think some game that happened two years ago or five years ago or anything else, I don't think that really has an effect on this game."

The home crowd could have a big effect.

The fans were very loud last Saturday. And the Ravens are 4-4 on the road.

"Anytime you go into a road playoff game, you know it is going to present its challenges in dealing with the crowd noise and things like that," Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco said. "We play a lot of good teams that have great crowds. It definitely prepares us for something like this.

"You can let that have a positive effect for the home team. I think you have to do something mentally that was not very sharp in order to let that be a factor."

There will be much bigger factors that determine the outcome of the game.

The Big Two: the Ravens defense and the Patriots offense.

"When you do watch how the games are played, nine times out of 10, I just truly believe defense is going to find a way to win the championship," Lewis said. "You can go back however many years you want to go back, and defenses have a way to come out to make a play that changes the outcome of games."

Unless, of course, you're facing Brady.

"I try to be the best I can be every week," he said. "I don't think long-term too often, especially in weeks like this."

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS