FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots (10-6) won the AFC East, but the Baltimore Ravens (9-7) won’t have to face Wes Welker, the NFL’s leading receiver with 123 catches, who seriously injured his knee in last Sunday’s 34-27 loss to Houston. But the Patriots should have their best defensive linemen back. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork missed the last three games with a foot injury and end Ty Warren sat out two of them and much of the third with an ankle injury.
That should help against the outstanding running duo of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee.
“You cannot play that defense without recognizing that guy, Vince Wilfork,” Rice said. “When he wants to stop a play, he’ll stop a play.”
The Ravens were 1-6 this season against playoff teams and have never beaten the Patriots, losing all five matchups. At home, the Patriots were 8-0 this season and have won their last 11 playoff games, the last seven with quarterback Tom Brady.
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