As the New England Patriots prepare to do battle against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game this Sunday, a lot of attention has gone into the last time these two teams met in a playoff game.
The two teams met in the 2009 playoffs during wild-card weekend. The Patriots finished 10-6 and grabbed the No. 3 seed while the Ravens finished 9-7 and grabbed the sixth and final playoff spot.
At that point, the Tom Brady–Bill Belichick combination had not lost a playoff game at home and confidence was high that the trend would continue.
Unfortunately, the Ravens didn't care for past trends.
Baltimore set the tone early when Ray Rice took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage and ran 83 yards for an opening score. After Brady was strip-sacked by Terrell Suggs on the next possession, the Ravens punched in another touchdown and the Pats were down two scores before two minutes had passed.
Brady threw two picks in the first quarter, which led to the Ravens opening up a 24-0 lead on their way to a 33-14 rout.
The difficult loss has weighed heavily on the Patriots, but on Sunday they will finally get their shot at revenge.
But how much should the Patriots look into that loss?
The Patriots have gone through a major overhaul since that loss. Brady has more weapons at his disposal this time around with the additions of tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots will also have Wes Welker this time around, as an ACL tear ended his season the week before the 2009 matchup with the Ravens.
Taking a look at the weapons Brady had in 2009, it might be obvious why the Patriots struggled. Randy Moss was the only real threat the Pats had, and any time a receiver such as Sam Aiken gets six targets, trouble is bound to occur. The running game also has improved, solely with the absence of Laurence Maroney.
Despite those additions, the Ravens' defense is still as stout as ever, with Suggs, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis headlining a defensive unit that was ranked third during the regular season.
So should the Patriots be concerned about their past encounter with the Ravens?