FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The last time Tom Brady faced the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, he threw interceptions on the New England Patriots’ final two drives.
In their three playoff matchups, he lost twice.
All those games were at Gillette Stadium, where the postseason rivals meet Saturday for the fourth time in six years.
Brady says none of that history will matter when he takes his first snap in the divisional playoff on the path to what he hopes will be his fourth straight AFC title game.
“I don’t think that’s really useful,” the quarterback said Tuesday. “We can’t change what has happened. You just have to move forward and you have to think about the things that we’ve done really well this year.”
That would be:
Going 12-4 and earning the top seed in the AFC. Scoring the fourth most points in the NFL. Having a strong defense with outstanding cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Leadership from a quarterback with the fifth best passer rating. And production from a tight end, Rob Gronkowski, with the most receptions for anyone at his position and excellent blocking ability.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good position,” Brady said after returning to practice following a first-round bye. “We’ve just got to take advantage of it.”
They didn’t do that in two of their three playoff games against the Ravens.
Their postseason rivalry began with Baltimore’s 33-14 wild-card win in the 2009 season. Two years later, New England won 23-20 to advance to the Super Bowl, where it lost to the New York Giants.
In Brady’s second consecutive AFC championship matchup with the Ravens on Jan. 20, 2013, the Patriots lost 28-13 after leading 13-7 at halftime.
Those three games were hardly Brady’s best: a total of three touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a 56.1 completion percentage.
The Patriots did rout the Ravens in Baltimore last season 41-7, but Brady didn’t have to do much. They led 17-0 early in the second quarter, LeGarrette Blount ran for two touchdowns and the defense produced four turnovers and four sacks.
Those three playoff games might make for some pretty ugly viewing, but watching film of them might provide useful tips.
“It’s the same (defensive) coordinator so a lot of the scheme stuff you see how he (Dean Pees) tried to defend us back then,” Brady said. “We’re a different team now, too, so I think the more information the better.
“They’re a different team.”
Fiery linebacker Terrell Suggs is still around for the Ravens (11-6) and had an interception in last Saturday’s 30-17 wild-card win over Pittsburgh.
And he’s no fan of Brady’s, having criticized him for complaining to officials.
But four days before their most important game of the season, both downplayed any differences.
“He’s phenomenal,” Brady said. “We’ve never really talked a lot on the field. We’ve never really talked much off the field either. So, it’s the way it goes, but he’s a great player.”
Suggs had a simple explanation for how he views Brady.
“He’s a quarterback. I’m a defender. He’s got a job to do and so do I, so naturally there are going to be some disagreements there,” he said Tuesday. “Nobody’s really worried about what happened in the past. The only thing we’re worrying about is this game.”
The Ravens were second in the NFL with 49 sacks, led by Elvis Dumervil with 17 and Suggs with 12.
But they’re 24th in pass defense and tied for 25th with 11 interceptions
The Patriots offensive line should be back intact after left guard Dan Connolly missed the last two games with a knee injury.
“It’s a lot of pressure on us to do a good job,” Connolly said. “It’s our job to make sure Tom stays upright.”
In beating the Steelers, the Ravens sacked Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethslisberger five times
The Patriots got back to work on Tuesday, working out in pads on a chilly day after five days without practice.
“It’s been great for everybody to get your body a chance to take a little break and heal up a little bit,” Brady said. “This is a first step for us. A lot of teams played last week. We didn’t get a chance to do that.”
His next chance to beat the Ravens is just a few days away.
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