Last January, they were an incompletion in the end zone in the final minute — Sterling Moore stripped the ball from Lee Evans after the Ravens receiver had both hands on it — from winning. And then they botched a 32-yard field goal that would have forced overtime.
“These are two of the top teams for a long time now and we know each other very well,” Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis said. “It’s that chess match; they are going to make plays and we are going to. It’s always one play here or there and who makes the last play will win. It will always be a 60-minute game.”
That’s something Lewis revels in as he makes a final run for a second championship before retiring when the Ravens are done.
“Both sides understand the game of football,” he said. “There have been some great, great rivalries and we have one of those going on with New England now.”
Baltimore won at home 31-30 in Week 3, which seems like eons ago. The Ravens were contending for the AFC’s top seed until losing four of their last five.
That dropped them out of a bye position, too, which New England grabbed. But the Ravens beat Indianapolis at home in the wild-card round, then stunned Denver.
“I think you always want to play at home. We want to play at home. We’ve got great fans and it’s a great atmosphere,” Ravens center Matt Birk said. “I’d say it’s certainly an advantage, but that’s the way it is. Ultimately it’s not going to decide the outcome of the game. Whoever plays better, more fundamentally sound football is going to win the game.”
Overall, the Ravens are 2-7 vs. New England, including 1-5 at Foxborough. Their defeats in five of the last six meetings were by a combined 16 points.