January 14, 2013

Ravens embrace underdog role vs. Patriots in AFC title game

The Patriots are 9.5-point favorites to beat Baltimore and advance to their sixth Super Bowl in 12 years.

The Associated Press

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Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis shakes hands Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after the Ravens won 38-35 in overtime of an AFC divisional playoff NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

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"The feeling we had in the locker room, I think we all wanted to get back to the AFC championship," Ngata said. "Hopefully we can get it done this time."

Underdogs or not, the Ravens are playing the Patriots for the conference crown. Again.

"It's been a long road getting back to this point, and the way we left it last year didn't sit well with us," tight end Dennis Pitta said. "So we're excited to be in this position against and give it another shot."

Because the Patriots and Ravens are usually among the top teams in the AFC, they have met quite often in recent years. Baltimore's 31-30 win in September was the fifth matchup between the teams since the start of the 2009 season. New England is 3-2, including 1-1 in the playoffs.

"It's definitely grown into quite a rivalry, we would like to say. I don't know how they feel about that," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "But we have tremendous respect for the New England Patriots. ... They just have a tremendous staff, tremendous players, tremendous tradition. It's always a huge challenge for us, but it's one we're excited about and look forward to."

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