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Divisional Playoff Preview: Ravens at Patriots

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4) vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS (10-6)
Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015 at 4:35 p.m. ET
* Gillette Stadium (68,756)*

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The New England Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens in a Divisional Playoff game on Sat., Jan. 10, at Gillette Stadium. The Ravens advanced to the second round of the playoffs after a 30-17 victory at Pittsburgh last Saturday. This week's game will be the third postseason meeting between the two teams, including a Wild Card game in 2009 and AFC Championship games in 2011 and 2012. The Patriots are 1-2 in those three postseason games.

The Patriots will try to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the fourth straight season, joining Oakland (5-1973-77), Philadelphia (4-2001-04), Buffalo (4-1990-93) and Dallas (4-1970-73 and 1992-95) as the only teams to reach at least four straight conference championship games.

The Patriots finished the 2014 regular season with a 12-4 record and the top seed in the conference, securing home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. The Patriots have now earned the number one seed five times (2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003). New England's 12 wins mark the ninth time in franchise history the Patriots have recorded 12 or more victories in the regular season, and it is the ninth time in the last 12 years the Patriots have had at least 12 regular-season wins. The Patriots have won at least 12 games for five straight years dating back to 2010 and finished with a 12-4 regular season record for the third straight year.

The Patriots earned a first-round bye in 2014 and lead the NFL with 10 first-round byes since the current NFL playoff format was instituted in 1990. New England has earned a firstround bye for the fifth consecutive season, becoming the first team to accomplish that feat. Dallas and San Francisco earned four straight byes from 1992 through 1995.

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BROADCAST INFORMATION**

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by NBC and can be seen locally on WHDH Channel 7 in Boston. Al Michaels will handle play-by-play duties with Cris Collinsworth as the color analyst. Michele Tafoya will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Fred Gaudelli and directed by Drew Esocoff.

NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by Westwood One Sports. Ian Eagle and Boomer Esiason will call the game with Tony Boselli providing sideline analysis.

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis.

ANNUAL ACHIEVEMENT
The Patriots have won more than half of their games for the 14th straight year with a 12-4 record in 2014. They are the first team to win more than half of their games in 14 straight seasons since free agency began in 1993. New England also became the third team to win more than half of their games in 14 straight seasons since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, joining the 49ers (16 straight from 1983-98) and the Cowboys (16 straight from 1970-85). The Patriots have now won nine or more games in 18 of the 21 seasons Robert Kraft has owned the team.

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SERIES HISTORY

The Patriots and Ravens have squared off eight times in the regular season and three times in the postseason, including two straight AFC Championship Games in 2011 and 2012, since the Baltimore franchise was founded following the Cleveland Browns' move to Baltimore in 1996. All three postseason games have been played at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are 1-2 against Baltimore all time in postseason play.

The teams last met in the regular season last year in Baltimore on Dec. 22, with the Patriots taking a 41-7 victory.

The Patriots and Ravens played in their first postseason meeting following the 2009 season with Baltimore taking a 33-14 win in a Wild Card matchup at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 10, 2010. The Patriots avenged that loss in the 2011 AFC Championship Game with a 23-20 victory over the Ravens at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 22, 2012, to advance to Super Bowl XLVI. The teams met for the second straight season in the 2012 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 20, 2013, with Baltimore getting revenge for the 2011 AFC Championship loss with a 28-13 win to advance to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots are 7-1 all-time against Baltimore in the regular season, including 4-0 in home games.

The first meeting between the teams came during the Ravens' first season in Baltimore, when the Patriots prevailed 46-38 on Oct. 6, 1996. The 84 total points scored by both teams in that game rank as the second-highest total number of points in a game in Patriots history to the 86 points in a 43-43 tie with Oakland in 1964.

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PASSING PERFORMANCES
Tom Brady is slated to start against Baltimore in the postseason for the fourth time. He is 1-2 against the Ravens in the playoffs and 5-1 against them in the regular season.

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CONNECTIONS**

NEW ENGLAND TIES

  • Ravens FB Kyle Juszczyk played collegiately at Harvard from 2009-12, where he earned numerous first-team All American honors after he posted 52 receptions for 706 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior.
  • Ravens S Jeromy Miles played collegiately at Massachusetts from 2007- 09, where he started all 36 games he played in and totaled 294 tackles, nine interceptions, 23 passes defensed and seven forced fumbles.
  • Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta attended Taunton (Mass.) HS, where he played fullback and linebacker, earned three varsity letters and was voted team captain as a senior. He played collegiately at Colby College from 1990-92, where he was a three-year football letterman and captain at linebacker. DeCosta also served as an assistant coach at Trinity College from 1993-95.
  • Ravens president Dick Cass graduated from Yale Law School in 1971.
  • Ravens assistant head coach/secondary Steve Spagnuolo attended Grafton (Mass.) HS, where he is a member of the school's Athletic Hall of Fame. He played wide receiver at Springfield (Mass.) College, where he was named the school's Male Scholar Athlete of the Year in 1982. Spagnuolo started his coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant at Massachusetts in 1982. He later served as an assistant coach at Connecticut from 1987-91 and as defensive coordinator at Maine in 1993.
  • Ravens defensive line coach Clarence Brooks attended New Bedford (Mass.) HS, where he lettered in football and track and field. He played collegiately as an offensive guard at the University of Massachusetts from 1970-72 and served as a team captain in his final season. Brooks launched his coaching career as the defensive ends coach for Massachusetts from 1976-80.
  • Ravens quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison began his coaching career as the head coach for Suffield (Conn.) Academy from 1992-94.
  • Ravens senior offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg served as Harvard's passing game coordinator, quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator from 1994-95.
  • Ravens defensive assistant Matt Weiss played baseball and football at Hopkins School in New Haven, Conn., where he quarterbacked the team to a 12-0 record and New England Prep School Class C Championship his senior year.
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BALTIMORE TIES**

  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was raised in Annapolis, Md., where his father, Steve, served as head football coach for the Naval Academy. Belichick was a standout prep athlete at Annapolis HS, where he has since been inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.
  • Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was born in Accokeek, Md. and attended Gwynn Park HS in Brandywine, Md., where he played football, basketball and ran track. Arrington led Gwynn Park to a regional championship and earned second-team all-county honors during his senior season.
  • Patriots defensive assistant Brendan Daly served as a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland in 2000.
    FORMER PATRIOTS
  • Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees served as linebackers coach for the Patriots from 2004-05 before being promoted to defensive coordinator, a role he held through the 2009 season.
  • Ravens WR Kamar Aiken played in one game for the Patriots on special teams and as an offensive reserve at Jacksonville (12/23/12), but was inactive for the team's two playoff games. Aiken then appeared in three preseason games with the Patriots in 2013 before being released.
  • Ravens DT Casey Walker played in five games with one start for the Patriots in 2014, totaling 11 tackles and one sack. He was signed by Baltimore off New England's practice squad on Dec. 16, 2014.
    FORMER RAVENS
  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick launched his NFL coaching career in 1975, when he was named special assistant to Baltimore Colts head coach Ted Marchibroda at age 23.
  • Patriots RB Jonas Gray spent the entire 2013 season on the Ravens' practice squad.
  • Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien served as the Ravens special teams coach from 1996-98.
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FORMER NFL TEAMMATES**

  • Ravens executive vice president/general manager Ozzie Newsome worked under Patriots head coach Bill Belichick from 1991-95, when Belichick was head coach of the Cleveland Browns. In 1993, Newsome was promoted to assistant to the head coach/offense/pro personnel.
  • Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks Josh McDaniels was head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009-10, and Ravens inside linebackers coach Don Martindale served as the team's linebackers coach in 2009 and defensive coordinator in 2010. Ravens OLB Elvis Dumervil also played for the Broncos from 2009-10, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2009 after leading the league in sacks.
  • Patriots WR Brandon LaFell and Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr. were part of the Carolina Panthers receiving corps from 2010-13. Smith Sr. was also tutored by Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien from 2001-04, when O'Brien was serving as the Panthers assistant head coach/special teams.
  • Patriots CB Darrelle Revis, DT Chris Jones, TE Tim Wright, LB Jonathan Casillas, Ravens CB Rashaan Melvin, DE Steven Means and C Jeremy Zuttah were teammates on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013.
  • Ravens assistant head coach/secondary Steve Spagnuolo served as head coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11, while Patriots offensive coordinator/ quarterbacks Josh McDaniels (same position) and defensive assistant Brendan Daly (defensive line) served on his staff.
  • Ravens defensive line coach Clarence Brooks (defensive line) and Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears (wide receivers) both served on the Chicago Bears coaching staff from 1993-98.
  • Patriots LB Jonathan Casillas played linebacker for the New Orleans Saints in 2012 under the guidance of Ravens assistant head coach/secondary Steve Spagnuolo, who was serving as the team's defensive coordinator
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FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES**

  • Patriots CB Darrelle Revis and Ravens QB Joe Flacco were teammates at Pittsburgh in 2004. Flacco saw action in three games as a backup quarterback while Revis earned first-team Freshman All American honors.
  • Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (2008-11), Ravens NT Terrence Cody (2008-09), LB C.J. Mosley (2010-13) and LB Courtney Upshaw were defensive teammates at Alabama.
  • Patriots RB Shane Vereen and Ravens RB Justin Forsett were offensive teammates at California in 2007, when Vereen was a freshman and Forsett was a senior.
  • Patriots S Patrick Chung and Ravens NT Haloti Ngata were defensive teammates at Oregon from 2004-05.
  • Patriots C Bryan Stork and Ravens DT Timmy Jernigan were teammates at Florida State from 2011-13.
  • Ravens assistant special teams coach Chris Hewitt was an assistant coach at Rutgers from 2004-11, during which time Patriots S Devin Mc- Courty, DB Duron Harmon, CB Logan Ryan, TE Tim Wright and Ravens C Jeremy Zuttah all played for the Scarlet Knights.
  • Patriots LB Chris White, LB Deontae Skinner and Ravens LB Pernell McPhee were defensive teammates at Mississippi State from 2009-10.
  • Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and Ravens CB Antoine Cason were teammates at Arizona in 2007.
  • Patriots LB Jonathan Casillas and Ravens TE Owen Daniels were teammates at Wisconsin in 2005.
  • Patriots LS Danny Aiken and Ravens T Eugene Monroe were teammates at Virginia from 2007-08.
  • Patriots RB James White was tutored by Ravens running backs coach Thomas Hammock at the University of Wisconsin from 2011-13. RELATED LINKS

    PATRIOTS: Game Release | Injury ReportPlayoff Exclusives | Roster | Depth Chart | Stats 
    RAVENS: Game Release | Roster | Depth Chart | Stats
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