The Ravens' divisional round game against the New England Patriots has fans and the media in both locales buzzing, with anticipation to face a familiar foe taking hold in Baltimore while something resembling fear has swept New England.
Here's what some writers are saying about the Ravens traveling north, both regarding the history of the playoff series and the actual football game to be played Saturday.
There goes the Kraft-O-Matic, La-Z-Boy playoff plan. After a very un-Patriot like series of events, your team is actually going to have to play Big Boy Football against a worthy adversary to advance to the AFC Championship this year. The annual birthright march to the Super Bowl now has a big speed bump in its path. The Baltimore Ravens are coming to Foxborough Saturday and unlike most Patriots playoff opponents, the Ravens are not afraid of the Patriots. Unlike almost everybody else in the AFC, the Ravens have the coach, the quarterback, and the pass rush to compete in Foxborough in a playoff game."
"With Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and Haloti Ngata, the Ravens have the pass rushers to bother Brady and disrupt the timing of the Patriots' passing offense. The Baltimore defense sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times Saturday and intercepted him twice.
The Ravens have an offense that, when clicking, can run the ball with tailback Justin Forsett or throw it with quarterback Joe Flacco targeting wide receivers Steve Smith and Torrey Smith. Flacco rises to the occasion and is a far better postseason quarterback than regular season quarterback (more on that later). And the Ravens are not intimidated by the prospect of playing at New England. Far from it."
"So it'll be the Ravens. Why's everybody so a-scared?
The most deplorable organization in American professional sports punched its ticket for a playoff rematch with the New England Patriots next weekend in Foxborough with a convincing 30-17 win over the No. 3 seed Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday night. The Baltimore Ravens and New England will meet in the postseason for the fourth time in the last six seasons, and the previous three contests haven't been pretty for the Patriots."
"In all, it was a complete win for the Ravens, who are a difficult team to figure out. They play the Patriots next week, and while it's tempting to note that they've enjoyed some success against New England in playoffs past, just 14 players who suited up for the game between these two during the 2009 playoffs will do so again in the 2014 postseason. More likely, Baltimore will give New England fits because it can deliver a pair of truly impressive pass-rushers. Dumervil and Suggs are on the prowl."
"The fact the Ravens have made it this far should not come as a surprise. Back in early November, advanced stats pointed to Baltimore making a playoff run despite sitting in last-place of the competitive AFC North."