Only three offensive players that started for the Patriots when they last met the Ravens in a divisional playoff game on Jan. 10, 2015, will be starting Monday night at Gillette Stadium. Yet, the only thing that seemed to matter to the Ravens this week was that the guy who directs the Patriots offense remains the same, perhaps even better.
More often than not this season, Dean Pees' vision for his defense has been realized. The Ravens have confused quarterbacks, overwhelmed opposing running backs and forced turnovers. They have the No.1-ranked defense in the NFL and players say their veteran defensive coordinator's game plans are a major reason why.
Practically every NFL coach will tell you that one player does not make or break a football team. That holds true for the Ravens, but members of the secondary are not shy about wishing for the return of cornerback Jimmy Smith from a nagging back injury.