Before I get into some things that you should know about the Ravens that could potentially allow them to beat the Patriots, I think it is important to know that although the Ravens have beaten us in big situations in recent years, it is two very different teams facing off this year.
In 2009 when the Patriots lost to the Ravens in the playoffs they were recovering from losing Wes Welker for the season a week before. In 2012 when they beat the Patriots in the AFC Title game, if you will remember it was "Ray's Last Run" and nobody was going to stand in the way of Ray Lewis winning one last championship. Yes, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were both on their final legs but they brought such energy, smarts, and intangibles to that defense that was able to shut down the Patriots.
The Ravens will be a tough matchup and it is without a doubt the matchup that the Patriots did not want to see, but it is not the Ravens teams of the past and Patriots fans need to calm down, relax, and just watch the Patriots showcase that they are the superior team.
Patriots teams of the past were not capable of winning a low scoring game because they did not have the defense to do so, they had to score 35 points to win a game. This year they could easily win a game 14-10 if the offense sputters. Trust the defense.
Now 3 things that everyone needs know about this Baltimore Ravens teams.
1.) Torrey Smith is the king of drawing pass interference flags, and how the referees decide to call this game can be a huge factor. Smith has drawn 12 pass interference calls (the most in the NFL this season). Now if Brandon Browner is on Smith it could be a huge disadvantage if Smith can get some calls on Browner. And we all know that Flacco likes to chuck it up to Smith, and if he sees big #39 on Torrey Smith he will signal a fly route and hope for PI.
2.) Steve Smith Sr. is a scrappy player and we saw first hand how he can get into somebody's head. Just go watch the Monday Night game against Carolina last year where him and Talib got into it repeatedly. Smith hangs his hat on being able to get other players rattled, and he will try this week. Unfortunately for him Darrelle Revis will be covering him most likely and he doesn't get into those childish games. So look for Smith to get frustrated early due to not getting the ball and Revis ignoring his antics.
3.) The Ravens have an exceptionally good special teams unit. Justin Tucker is a very good kicker and boots it out of the end zone almost every time, and on the flip side Jacoby Jones is an exciting player that can break a return at any time. This game will not be close enough to come down to special teams, but it's a factor that must be addressed in this game.