Where does Ravens-Patriots rate on intensity scale?

Where does Ravens-Patriots rate on intensity scale?
December 19, 2013, 8:45 am
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Are the Ravens good enough offensively for the playoffs?

The Ravens have played the Patriots just 10 times in franchise history, and New England has dominated the series, winning seven games. However, Sunday’s meeting will be their fourth in three seasons, including two playoff games, and Baltimore has won the last two.

So, is this a rivalry?

That’s the question that was discussed at Boston.com this week. The proposition was that not only is Ravens-Patriots a rivalry, but it’s also a quite heated one.

“I think this is one of the most underrated rivalries not only in the NFL, but right now in all of sports,” Boston.com’s Chris Gasper said. “You have two teams that when they play it means something. The games are usually competitive and good and there’s drama in there. And there’s genuine dislike and genuine respect on both sides. Are the Ravens now the Patriots’ biggest rival?”

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Boston.com columnist Adam Kaufman said: “You get some of the banter on the side, particularly from the Ravens. Terrell Suggs whining about Tom Brady, about Spygate, about the tuck rule, and it seems like Ravens players in general just can’t shut up. One thing I wonder … is this a bigger rivalry in the two locker rooms than to the general public? …” 

“If it’s not something that’s fully grasped by the public, then it’s still lacking that component.”

Plus, it’s only in recent years that the games have taken on great importance. This isn’t like the long line of Patriots-Colts games, played nearly every year, that matched Brady vs. Peyton Manning. And there hasn’t been the sustained intensity — accompanied by the enmity between the fans — of Ravens-Steelers.

Still, something else that distinguishes the series during the past few years is the Ravens’ attitude toward New England, Gasper said.

“Unlike a lot of teams, they’re not intimidated,” he said of the Ravens. “They don’t walk on the field and think they’re a lesser team. … I feel like the Patriots get a point or two just for being the Patriots, for having [coach Bill] Belichick, for having Brady. The Ravens don’t care.”