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Ravens preparing for a 'classic'

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  January 16, 2012 08:43 AM

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Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said he's preparing for another classic battle with the Patriots. (AP)

BALTIMORE -- The Ravens and Patriots have more than enough history. Next week, they'll add to it. With their 20-13 win over the Texans last night, the Ravens set up a shot at the Super Bowl, but to get there they'll have to beat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Championship game.

It's nothing they haven't done before. In 2009, the Ravens came to Foxborough and handed the Patriots a 33-14 beating in the Wild Card round. They tagged Tom Brady for three interceptions and three sacks. But that was then.


Safety Ed Reed has eight career postseason picks. (AP)

"We've played there a lot," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. "It seems like every time we play them it's there. They've earned the home field this week. They're a great football team. They have great players. They're very well coached. We know, because we've been there so often, what kind of challenge it entails. They've beaten us plenty of times there, too. We understand that. It's going to be a heck of a football game."

One certainty: Tom Brady will pose a much bigger challenge for the Ravens defense than Texans rookie quarterback TJ Yates, who threw three interceptions yesterday. At times it seemed like the Ravens knew Yates' only option was Andre Johnson. Next week, they'll brace themselves, knowing that a surgical Brady, who threw for more than 5,000 yards this season, will spray the ball to any of his receivers.

"Brady don’t have a favorite target," safety Ed Reed said. "I saw him throw to an offensive lineman."

The Patriots haven't been to a Super Bowl since their near-perfect season in 2007. The Ravens haven't been since 2000.

"It's going to be a great challenge for both of us," Ray Lewis said. "We've played the Patriots several times and the games always come down to being classic. Brady is one of the best quarterbacks of all time and there is no better mind in football than Bill Belichick. So with all of that being said, here's our opportunity."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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