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The Ravens are 7.5-point underdogs to the New England Patriots.
And they have no problem taking on that role heading into the AFC championship.
“We like being an underdog,” linebacker Johnson said Monday afternoon. “We’re used to it. I think we handle it better, psychologically. I don’t know why, but I think we do.”
Just once this season – Week 9 in Pittsburgh – have the Ravens gone into a game as an underdog.
In every game before and since then, the Ravens have been the favorites.
But not this weekend.
The Patriots are the top seed in the AFC, have the home-field advantage and are riding a nine-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s matchup.
They are led by a coach and quarterback that each have three Super Bowl rings, and they feature a high-flying offense that has averaged 37.3 points during the current winning streak.
The Ravens, however, come to town after narrowly beating the Houston Texans in the divisional-round, with an offense that hasn’t scored more than 37 points once this season. The Ravens have averaged 23.4 points per game this season.
Handicapping the Patriots as the favorites is hardly a surprise.
“Should we be [the underdog]? I don’t know,” Johnson said. “Obviously it’s their place, they’re the number one seed. They’ve earned it. They have one of the top offenses in the league. They deserve to be the top team.”
The Ravens responded as the underdog against Pittsburgh earlier this season, winning that Week 9 matchup 23-20 after a fourth- quarter comeback. They have also played some of their best games against top competition, as the Ravens are 7-0 against teams that made the playoffs.
“I like it,” Johnson said about taking on the role. “I’m an underdog myself. I love it.”