The first matchup of the NFL divisional playoffs is set, and it’s one with which fans have become quite familiar.
With their upset of the arch rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night, the Baltimore Ravens stamped their ticket to New England, where they’ll take on the top-seeded Patriots next Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
The matchup will be the fourth playoff game between the two teams, all in the last six years. And while the sample size is small, the Ravens have gotten the better of the Pats in two of the first three matchups, including a 28-13 drubbing of the Pats in the 2013 AFC title game. That win avenged a 23-20 loss in the previous year’s title game and sent Baltimore on to the Super Bowl, where the Ravens beat the 49ers 34-31 in the Harbaugh Bowl for their second title.
Here’s a look at the teams’ playoff history:
January 20, 2013: Ravens 28, Patriots 13
Tom Brady and Co. were favored to win their second straight AFC title, but in the penultimate game of Ray Lewis’ career, the Ravens defense turned in a vintage performance, forcing three New England turnovers and holding the Pats scoreless in the second half after trailing 13-7 at the break. Joe Flacco threw three second-half touchdown passes — the last two to Anquan Boldin — and the Ravens pulled away to win their second AFC title.
January 22, 2012: Patriots 23, Ravens 20
Brady, as he put it in his postgame interview on CBS, “sucked pretty bad,” throwing two interceptions and no touchdown passes. But with Baltimore deep in New England territory in the final minute, the Patriots held on to win their fifth AFC title of the Brady-Belichick era on two improbable plays.
The first came when backup cornerback Sterling Moore ripped the ball out of Lee Evans’ hands in the endzone to prevent what would have been a game-winning touchdown. The next came when Billy Cundiff shanked a 32-yard field goal that would have tied it in the final seconds.
January 10, 2010: Ravens 33, Patriots 14
A young Baltimore offense led by Joe Flacco and Ray Rice helped the Ravens stun the AFC East champion Patriots on Wild Card weekend despite accounting for only 34 passing yards and 268 total yards.
Flacco completed just 4 of 10 passes and was intercepted once without throwing a touchdown. But Rice and the Baltimore running game more than made up for it.
Rice broke away for an 83-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage, helping propel Baltimore to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter, and finished with 159 yards and two scores on 22 carries.