Patriots prepare for Ravens' physical play

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Patriots prepare for Ravens' physical play

FOXBORO -- Recent history would suggest that the Patriots are going to put up points on Sunday, and that the team's biggest task is stopping Baltimore's offense from getting in the end zone.

But in order for New England's offense to have success in the AFC Championship, quarterback Tom Brady will need his offensive line to be at its best against a Ravens defense that finished the regular season with the third-most sacks.

"This will be the most physical front we face all year, by far," said Patriots veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters on Thursday. "That's something that, if you watch them, it doesn't take long to figure out that that's what they thrive upon, being physical and really trying to overwhelm you on defense, getting to the ball, going after the football. The way they hit, the way they attack the quarterback, the way they shed blockers, that's definitely an emphasis on their football team.

"It's always our number one job up front," added Waters. "We obviously know that, if we keep him clean, then we have a better chance of winning, by far. So it's going to be a great task for us, but it's the largest emphasis of our job, as offensive linemen."

Logan Mankins agreed, and pointed out that the Ravens pass-rush doesn't just have one or two dangerous players. It's their whole system that allows them to have such a ferocious attack on opposing quarterbacks.

"They're very physical," he said. "They have numerous guys that are at least 350 pounds. They've got some big guys. And that all starts with Ray Lewis. He's played physical for his entire career. Those guys feed off this, and I think that he demands that they play physical also. They're a physical football team, offensively and defensively.

"They have numerous guys across the board that can rush the passer, and they've all got numerous sacks. So, it's not just one guy doing it," added Mankins. "They have a lot of guys that are good at it. And I think collectively, they know how to rush the passer. That's why they're so good."

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski attended the Dayton 500 in true Gronkowski form.

He appeared to be there promoting Monster Energy drink, and was therefore hanging with the Monster Girls, who were also promoting the drink. Gronkowski's herniated disc injury, which required surgery in December 2016, does not seem to be slowing him down as he gets warmed up for the Summer of Gronk.

During the race coverage on FOX Sports, Gronk delivered a speed limit joke, which is sure to make the 13-year-old in you chuckle. (You can watch it here.)

[H/T NESN.com]

WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

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WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

Now THIS is old-time hockey!

There's bad blood between the Bruins' David Backes and the Stars' Jamie Benn that goes back a long way, most recently in last spring's Dallas-St. Louis playoff series when Backes was still with the Blues. They met again today -- and the ungodly (hockey) hour of 11:30 a.m. Dallas time -- for a nationally televised game between Backes' new team, the Bruins, and the Stars.

And it didn't take long for the two to renew acquaintances . . .