One more game before new season begins for the Ravens

New England lit up the Texans, 42-14, on Dec. 10, and the Minnesota Vikings upset Houston, 23-6, last week.

The Ravens have motivation because they would want to prove their lopsided loss earlier this year in Houston was an aberration.

Schaub is a good quarterback, but he's in the same group with the Ravens' Joe Flacco.

Neither is in the same class with Manning or Brady, and that's where the line in the sand is drawn for as far as the Ravens can go.

The Ravens don't have an elite quarterback, and they will struggle against the Broncos or Patriots. Denver is the most balanced team in the field, and New England can score points in bunches. Both teams are tough to beat at home.

At least in the first two games, if the schedule works out, the Ravens have a reasonable chance of winning — even though a win against Houston would still be considered a long shot.

But the Ravens don't see it that way. They think they have momentum.

"That momentum, it's sort of like you were going to say, 'stop the bleeding,' " Rice said. "We know what kind of pressure we were under. We're not used to that losing streak. We were able to always bounce back after one [loss]. So, that was something that was different for us. To know that the playoffs are around the corner — I said it on Sunday — we are talking about a Ravens team who are battle-tested.

"There is nothing that you could throw at us that we haven't dealt with. We've dealt with injury. We've even dealt with death with one of our teammates' family members [Torrey Smith's brother in September]. We've dealt with everything else you can imagine during one year. So, this team right here is focused. We're battle-tested going forward, and that makes me feel good about this team, because it's different.

"It's different than any other year."

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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