Fans of the Baltimore Ravens firmly believe that not only is the 9.5 point spread ridiculous in today's AFC Championship Game, but believe the Ravens will win the game and get their revenge for what happened last year. However, if you take a gander from the perspective of a New England Patriots fan, you'd see a totally different story.
Over at SB Nation's NFL blog on the Patriots, Pats Pulpit, you will find a very confident group of writers and fans. They respect the Ravens but join with so many other pitifully uninformed writers and fans in calling Ray Lewis and Ed Reed old and liabilities, the Ravens defense a mere shell of its former self and Joe Flacco and Ray Rice stoppable.
They point to their surgeon at QB, Tom Brady and see him picking apart the Ravens secondary regardless of who his receivers have to be. They point to the New England defense which they say can slow down the Ravens offense and limit Flacco's effectiveness.
Unfortunately, they don't take into account the heart of a lion, the will of a man when multiplied so many times, and the progression of a team to the point it is today, not the average of their entire season. With Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs on the field at the same time only since the playoffs started, they combined to raise the level of defense to keep the Indianapolis Colts out of the end zone all game and while they did give up three scores to the Denver Broncos, they only allowed one touchdown in the game's final 50+ minutes, including the double-overtime periods.
Regardless of the odds-makers huge point spread, both teams have seen these match-ups rarely be decided by more than a touchdown and the last time that happened was right there in Foxborough when the Ravens scored on the very first play from scrimmage and never looked back in the 2010 playoffs.
Even Patriots fans knew they were lucky to play on after last year's AFC Championship Game, with two plays that had either went the Ravens way, the game should have, could have and would have had a different outcome. It didn't happen and the Pats went on to lose their second Super Bowl to the New York Giants and have that as their motivation.
However, that does not come close to trumping the drive and emotion pounding in the Ravens chests. At the same time, that emotion will only last so long and once the ball is kicked to start the game, the better team will win. It's just that Ravens fans believe they are that better team today.
Check out all the stories on today's game over at Pats Pulpit and see the view from the "other side."