All season, the
Before walking out of the visiting locker room at
Four losses in their last five games was a non-issue, they claimed. All that mattered was getting healthier and the
"It doesn't worry us. This is the playoffs and it's different," said safety
Still, is it reasonable to expect that the Ravens will just flip a switch at 1 p.m. on Sunday and suddenly all that ailed them over the final month of a 16-game season will be cured? Recent history suggests no, but to a man, Ravens' players insisted that they are in ideal position to make a playoff run.
"I think we're very ready," said tight end
What the Ravens are trying to accomplish — rebounding from a poor final month and making a
But their run was more the exception rather than the norm, which has been teams getting hot late in the regular season and carrying that steam into the playoffs. The
Two years ago, the
Clearly, teams that entered the playoffs riding a wave of momentum recently have fared better, but Harbaugh downplayed the significance of that Monday.
"Whatever team plays the best in the playoffs is going to win it," Harbaugh said. "So if you want to call it getting hot, it's pretty important. Starting this week, whoever plays the best will be the champion. … It's a whole new season, it all starts fresh. It's the playoffs. We're all 0-0 at this point. It's time to move on and play this part of the season."
The Ravens were at their best two weeks ago, demolishing the reigning Super Bowl champion Giants to clinch their second straight
"We thought about everything," Harbaugh said, explaining the decision a day later. "We thought about all that stuff, we really did. We took it all into consideration and we weighed it all out. We felt like we can win the game with the guys that we had and we almost pulled it off. With better field position, we would have pulled it off. If momentum is winning the game, that was something we talked about and we tried to win the game. But some other factors weighed heavier into our minds."
Colts head coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator
"It was a great team victory as far as talking about wanting to play your best football at the end of the season," Pagano said at his news conference Monday in Indianapolis. "You'd love to go into the playoffs with momentum and we talked at great length about that as a football team this past week."
It will be an emotional return for Pagano who coached under Harbaugh for four seasons in Baltimore. Harbaugh acknowledged that it will be "great" to see Pagano but the good sentiment only goes so far.
"Right now they are just an opponent," Harbaugh said. "I'm very excited about our team right now. I like us a lot. I've liked us all year. I like the fact that we've overcome a lot of adversity, both personal and team. I like the fact that our guys have stuck together through a lot of that. I think that's what makes a team what it is and I'm looking forward to seeing who we are for the next one game through however many games we're able to play. It's going to be a big challenge, it's a great opportunity and I wouldn't want to be coaching any other team besides the Ravens at this stage."