FOXBORO — As Tom Brady has done many times over the years, he wouldn’t take the bait.

The Ravens were one of the teams that helped start Deflategate, as reportedly some Ravens assistant coaches helped tip off the Colts prior to the AFC title game that the Patriots were allegedly using under-deflated footballs.

Deflategate of course began following that game.

Tom Brady said he doesn't have any animosity towards the Ravens. (WEEI.com)

Tom Brady said he doesn’t have any animosity towards the Ravens. (WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — As Tom Brady has done many times over the years, he wouldn’t take the bait.

The Ravens were one of the teams that helped start Deflategate, as reportedly some Ravens assistant coaches helped tip off the Colts prior to the AFC title game that the Patriots were allegedly using under-deflated footballs.

Deflategate of course began following that game.

On Wednesday, Brady was asked if he holds any animosity towards the Ravens given what took place a few years ago?

“For me personally? I think all these games are kind of the same,” Brady said. “Look at the opponent and look at what they do. The only thing that matters is what we do this week in practice and in the game. I think you just try and put everything aside and whether it was that, the playoff game a couple years ago, whether it was the regular season game a couple of years ago or championship games, none of those really matter.

“It’s really going to be about what this team does this week and like I said, Coach [Bill Belichick] has tried to put a lot of urgency on that and we understand that. We know we’re facing a team that is 7-5 and at the top of their division. They have a lot of confidence in what they do and so do so it’s going to be a good, tough matchup.”

Brady is 5-1 against the Ravens in the regular season, while 2-2 in the postseason.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tom Brady said he doesn't have any animosity towards the Ravens. (WEEI.com)

Tom Brady said he doesn’t have any animosity towards the Ravens. (WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — As Tom Brady has done many times over the years, he wouldn’t take the bait.

The Ravens were one of the teams that helped start Deflategate, as reportedly some Ravens assistant coaches helped tip off the Colts prior to the AFC title game that the Patriots were allegedly using under-deflated footballs.

Deflategate of course began following that game.

On Wednesday, Brady was asked if he holds any animosity towards the Ravens given what took place a few years ago?

“For me personally? I think all these games are kind of the same,” Brady said. “Look at the opponent and look at what they do. The only thing that matters is what we do this week in practice and in the game. I think you just try and put everything aside and whether it was that, the playoff game a couple years ago, whether it was the regular season game a couple of years ago or championship games, none of those really matter.

“It’s really going to be about what this team does this week and like I said, Coach [Bill Belichick] has tried to put a lot of urgency on that and we understand that. We know we’re facing a team that is 7-5 and at the top of their division. They have a lot of confidence in what they do and so do so it’s going to be a good, tough matchup.”

Brady is 5-1 against the Ravens in the regular season, while 2-2 in the postseason.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

One of the best Thursday night games of the year will take place this week, as the Raiders (10-2) and Chiefs (9-3) meet in an AFC West showdown that will have implications for the Patriots (10-2).

Oakland is sitting at 10-2 with the top seed in the AFC playoff chase. If the Raiders win out the rest of the way, they’d take the top seed, and would set them up nicely for the last three games of the year, with the road to the Super Bowl potentially running through Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

Meanwhile, Kansas City is 9-3, and already have a win over the Raiders. That means that a Chiefs’ win tonight would allow them to take over first place in the AFC West, the second seed in the conference race, and open the door for the Patriots to regain the top spot in the AFC.

The bottom line? While both teams are still jousting with the Patriots for playoff positioning, if you’re a New England fan, the more immediate priority is knocking the Raiders out of the No. 1 seed. If Kansas City beats Oakland, New England would take over the top seed, regardless of how they fare in their Monday night matchup with the Ravens

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Steve Smith Sr. will lead the Ravens into Foxboro Monday night. (Larry French/Getty Images)

Steve Smith Sr. will lead the Ravens into Foxboro Monday night. (Larry French/Getty Images)

Steve Smith, Sr. was on the Patriots’ radar screen when he became a free agent following the 2013 season, but that doesn’t mean he wants to talk about it.

“That was a long time ago. A lot has transpired,” the veteran receiver said Wednesday of his contact with the Patriots before he signed with the Ravens that spring.

“I’m here, so that has nothing to do with this game coming up, does it?”

OK then.

The 37-year-old Smith, who continues to defy the aging process, is in his 16th year in the league, and he’s still getting it done. In 10 games with the Ravens this season, he has 54 catches on 76 targets for 589 yards and three touchdowns. One of Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, the outspoken Smith will be one to watch when the two teams step on the field Monday night in Foxboro.

“What a tremendous competitor. This guy is tough. He plays extremely quick,” said New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. “You wouldn’t really think that he has been in the league as long as he has, but he outcompetes his opponents every play. He’s just got a drive about him that is definitely … I would say a little bit of an old school mentality that just he’s not going to be out-worked. He’s not going to be out-hustled. He’s not going to be out-competed by anybody else on the field. He’s a tough guy.”

Smith also loves to talk some trash. He had some fun at the expense of former New England cornerback Aqib Talib back in 2013, telling Talib to “Ice up, son,” after Smth’s Panthers’ upended the Patriots in Carolina. And on Wednesday — while wearing a Yoda onesie — he took some shots at the Dolphins, who complained about the state of the field in Baltimore in the wake of their 38-6 loss to the Ravens.

“Since Miami got their ass whooped, of course they’re going to complain about it, but it looked pretty good for us,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been to Miami. They shouldn’t be barking when they just started putting grass on half of the field when they had the dirt and the baseball [surface]. Beggars can’t be [choosers].”

When it comes to Smith’s woofing, you always need to keep your guard up, said New England safety Devin McCourty.

“Each week you’ve got guys that talk, and obviously, he’s elite at it, definitely,” McCourty said Smith. “You’ve watched him do it for years. But I think it starts with going out there and playing well. If we do those things, then we don’t have to worry about anything that’s being said out there and just have to focus on what we’re doing.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Steve Smith Sr. will lead the Ravens into Foxboro Monday night. (Larry French/Getty Images)

Steve Smith Sr. will lead the Ravens into Foxboro Monday night. (Larry French/Getty Images)

Steve Smith, Sr. was on the Patriots’ radar screen when he became a free agent following the 2013 season, but that doesn’t mean he wants to talk about it.

“That was a long time ago. A lot has transpired,” the veteran receiver said Wednesday of his contact with the Patriots before he signed with the Ravens that spring.

“I’m here, so that has nothing to do with this game coming up, does it?”

OK then.

The 37-year-old Smith, who continues to defy the aging process, is in his 16th year in the league, and he’s still getting it done. In 10 games with the Ravens this season, he has 54 catches on 76 targets for 589 yards and three touchdowns. One of Joe Flacco’s favorite targets, the outspoken Smith will be one to watch when the two teams step on the field Monday night in Foxboro.

“What a tremendous competitor. This guy is tough. He plays extremely quick,” said New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. “You wouldn’t really think that he has been in the league as long as he has, but he outcompetes his opponents every play. He’s just got a drive about him that is definitely … I would say a little bit of an old school mentality that just he’s not going to be out-worked. He’s not going to be out-hustled. He’s not going to be out-competed by anybody else on the field. He’s a tough guy.”

Smith also loves to talk some trash. He had some fun at the expense of former New England cornerback Aqib Talib back in 2013, telling Talib to “Ice up, son,” after Smth’s Panthers’ upended the Patriots in Carolina. And on Wednesday — while wearing a Yoda onesie — he took some shots at the Dolphins, who complained about the state of the field in Baltimore in the wake of their 38-6 loss to the Ravens.

“Since Miami got their ass whooped, of course they’re going to complain about it, but it looked pretty good for us,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been to Miami. They shouldn’t be barking when they just started putting grass on half of the field when they had the dirt and the baseball [surface]. Beggars can’t be [choosers].”

When it comes to Smith’s woofing, you always need to keep your guard up, said New England safety Devin McCourty.

“Each week you’ve got guys that talk, and obviously, he’s elite at it, definitely,” McCourty said Smith. “You’ve watched him do it for years. But I think it starts with going out there and playing well. If we do those things, then we don’t have to worry about anything that’s being said out there and just have to focus on what we’re doing.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Since the bye week, Julian Edelman has been a different receiver. (Greg M.</p>
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Dec 4, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA;  Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) passes against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco is an aggressive passer for the Ravens. (Mitch Stringer/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — The last time Devin McCourty went up against Joe Flacco and the Ravens, the end result was great. But the journey to a 35-31 win in the AFC divisional round was like pulling teeth. It wasn’t an experience that McCourty tries to recall all that often, partially because Flacco and the Ravens were able to score at will on the Patriots secondary, a secondary that featured Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

Flacco threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers and Baltimore had leads of 14-0 and 28-14.

“We won. That’s it. I mean it was a tough game,” McCourty recalled Wednesday. “We were down 14 twice but just kept playing. [We were] able to make some plays offensively and defensively that really decided that game, but a little bit different teams on both sides personnel-wise, so we’ll see if that even has any bearing on this one.”

That was the game McCourty picked off Flacco, the first playoff interception of Flacco’s career. In that game, Steve Smith caught the first of four touchdown passes from Flacco. What has made 37-year-old Steve Smith so good for so long?

“I don’t know him personally but I would probably guess his work ethic,” McCourty said. “To still play at a high level I think one thing is obviously he’s very competitive. He goes out there and competes his butt off every game for 60 minutes. To keep getting older and keep getting better you have to probably have a tremendous work ethic and he obviously has that and he [has been] a tough matchup for years in this league.”

Smith is also one of the biggest trash talkers in modern NFL history.

“I don’t even think I need to say anything. I mean guys are competitive,” McCourty said Wednesday. “You’ve just got to go out there and play. You know, each week you’ve got guys that talk and obviously he’s elite at it, definitely. You’ve watched him do it for years. But I think it starts with going out there and playing well. If we do those things then we don’t have to worry about anything that’s being said out there and just have to focus on what we’re doing. I think just from a total team standpoint and aspect, we understand how important that is to do what’s best for the team out there on the field and we’ve talked about that numerous times as players, and coaches tell us. So I don’t think that will be an issue for us.”

Flacco and the Ravens offense has been an issue for the Patriots. Flacco owns two of the three wins by visitors ever in the playoffs at Gillette Stadium. In Jan. 2010, Flacco came to town and beat the Patriots, 33-14. In Jan. 2013, the Patriots couldn’t hold onto a 13-7 halftime lead and lost the AFC championship, 28-13, when Flacco and the Ravens scored 21 unanswered points in the second half. After a 3-0 start, the Ravens lost four straight. But since then, the Ravens have won 4-of-5 and stand 7-5. They’re rejuvenated.

“They’re good. Joe Flacco is one of the top quarterbacks in the league,” McCourty said. “I think his ability to get the ball down the field and also his experience and understanding of what’s going on out there and knowing how to attack a defense. I think they’ve always had a good running game. They have very good skill players. Offensively that’s what you want. They want to be able to run the ball but they also know they can drop back and throw the ball. They have a bunch of weapons – Mike Wallace, Steve Smith, [Dennis] Pitta. Kamar Aiken was here, we know he’s a tough football player. He’s going to make plays for them catching the ball. It’s a good amount of guys to stop and we’re going to have to try to slow them down.”

Flacco is a modern day gunslinger. He’ll throw balls into tight spaces. He’ll also get picked off. He has 15 touchdowns this season to go with 11 interceptions.

“He’s definitely going to give his guys a chance,” McCourty said. “I think he knows what he can do on the field. He has a very strong arm. I think all the good quarterbacks, there have probably been times where they’ve thrown an interception and are like, ‘I thought I could get that in there,’ and I think that’s a part of what makes them good quarterbacks.

“You know, having that moxie about you that you want to try to make a play or that you believe in yourself, you believe in your guys that you’re throwing the ball to. He has a good amount of weapons to get the ball to so he’s definitely going to give his guys a chance to make some plays and they’ve shown that they’ve made them. We’ve got to definitely cover guys but also be ready down the field to go up there and challenge them and make our own plays.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe speak with ESPN's Trent Dilfer and look ahead to the match-up with his old team, the Baltimore Ravens.