The Boston Globe reports as many as 24 Patriots could play in their first postseason game come Sunday against the Ravens. The story adds that although some will be inactive or never see time, major contributions are needed. "The biggest game I've ever played in was the SEC championship," said LB Jerod Mayo, a Tennessee alum. "This is a huge game. I feel like I've worked hard all year. I'm approaching this game the same way." RB Sammy Morris, WR Sam Aiken, LB Gary Guyton, CB Leigh Bodden, LS Jake Ingram, KR/WR Matthew Slater and CB Jonathan Wilhiteare all entering their first playoff game.
The Canadian Press says both NT Vince Wilforkand DL Ty Warrenreturned to full practice on Wednesday, and participated on Thursday according to ESPN Boston. Both are expected to Start on Sunday against the Ravens.
DL/LB Derrick Burgessis making the most of his time in New England, recording five sacks in his first season with the Patriots. Tully Banta-Cain's10 leads the team but lately, according to Banta-Cain, Burgress has stepped up his game. "As of lately, he's been playing really well for us," Banta-Cain said according to the Boston Globe. "He has been a lift. He's a veteran player who is versatile, just what we needed. We're happy to have him here. Like a lot of players, he found the grass isn't always greener." Burgess, who was acquired from the Raiders Aug. 6, has started six games and seen time in every game this season.
Will RB Laurence Maroneyget the start against the Ravens Sunday? Due to a few costly fumbles during the season, it's unknown if he'll get the nod ahead of RBs Fred Taylorand Sammy Morris. The *Boston Herald *says Maroney never struggled with turnovers before this season, and lost only one fumble in 2007 and 2008 combined. "I trust Laurence with the ball," running backs coach Ivan Fears said. "That, I do. I expect Laurence to go out there and play his butt off like everybody else and understanding the importance of carrying the ball and holding onto the ball."
Ravens RB Willis McGahee understands the injury to WR Wes Welkeras he suffered a devastating knee injury during college. Click here to read McGahee's comments.
Former Patriots defensive back and current NBC analyst Rodney Harrison shared his thoughts on the Patriots-Ravens playoff game. Click here to see what he said about Bill Belichick according to ESPN Boston.
As was the story on Wednesday, G Dan Connollywas absent at Thursday's practice according to ESPN Boston. Connolly's status for Sunday's game is unknown. Besides Connolly, all players practiced in the afternoon session.
LB Adalius Thomassays the Ravens "have a lot of explosive players on offense and great players on defense," according to the Providence Journal. NT Vince Wilforksaid, "we're playing a Baltimore team that it went down to the wire the last time we played them." The Ravens are used to that, too. Of Baltimore's seven losses in 2009, four were by three points or less.
QB Tom Brady on LB Ray Lewis according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette: "Anyone who says he doesn't still have it, I don't know what film they're watching," Brady said, "because when I watch him on film, he's still one of the most dominating players out there."
*The Sporting News *makes a prediction for Sunday's game. Click here to see who'll come out on top and why.
Read SI.com's Power Rankings as Wild card weekend nears to see where the Patriots are.