FOXBORO -- It's not about their memorable regular-season game from 2007. It's not about their playoff battles in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014. It's not even about Deflategate.
Tom Brady said on Thursday that the Monday Night Football matchup between the Patriots and Ravens will be solely based on what those two teams can do on that particular night. Nothing about their history as rivals will creep into Brady's mind, he said.
Or at least he'll try to make sure that's the case.
"I think all these games are kind of the same," Brady answered when asked if he had any animosity for the Ravens for their role in sparking Deflategate. "I just look at the opponent, look at what they do, and the only thing that matters is what they do this week in practice and in the game.
"I think you just try to put everything aside, and whether it was that, or whether it was a playoff game a couple of years ago, or whether it was a regular season game a couple of years ago or championship games . . . I mean, 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. We understand that. We know we’re facing a team that’s 7-5. They’re at the top of their division. They have a lot of confidence in what they do and so do we. It’s going to be a good, tough matchup."
Casting aside the complicated backstory of these two teams may be difficult to do, particularly when the Ravens had some hand in helping get the ball rolling on what eventually became a four-game suspension for Brady. But the Patriots quarterback knows he'll have to have a signular focus against the league's top defense when it comes to yards allowed and rushing yards allowed.
"No one has done a better job over the course of the season than them," Brady said. "I think they do things really well in a lot of areas, so they’re good in first-down defense, good in third-down defense, third-and-short, good on the goal line, good in the red area. They contest every yard, so I think that’s the mark of a good defense.
"They don’t give you anything easy. You have to earn it. I think they do a good mix with their scheme and also with their personnel, so we’re prepared for a 60-minute game. That’s what we’re practicing for. If it’s something different than that, then we’ll adjust, but we know it’s going to be a good, tough matchup."