At 3-0, the Ravens have beat up on the soft AFC West and the worst team in the AFC North.
On Sunday at New England's Gillette Stadium, Baltimore will find out if its team is one of the best in the AFC. Going against the team that has defined success this decade, the Ravens will use this game as a measuring stick.
"You've got to respect them, then you've got to attack them," Ravens running back Ray Rice said. "You've got to go out there and play your game plan.
"The history -- the Super Bowls that they've won -- we respect it all. But we feel like we have to go up there to play a game."
The Ravens have been ranked atop several power rankings, but it's tough to get a solid feel for where this team stands.
"It's early in the season and we don't care about rankings and what the experts say about our future," coach John Harbaugh said. "No disrespect to those who do that, but it just doesn't matter to us. We know what we are and what we're doing. We have played with poise, class and with courage so far this season. We are a rough, tough, disciplined and hard-playing team. That's who we are."
In the season opener, the Ravens beat up the Kansas City Chiefs, who were without starting quarterback Matt Cassel. In Week 2, Baltimore edged out the San Diego Chargers, who were without running back LaDainian Tomlinson and two starting offensive linemen.
Last Sunday, the Ravens routed the Cleveland Browns, who are considered one of the worst teams in the NFL.
If the Ravens beat the Patriots in New England, it would reveal championship mettle.
"Obviously, they're among the greatest franchises of any sport," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "But we're not playing their franchise. We're not playing their history or their legacy. We're playing the New England Patriots of this year, and they're damn good."
The Ravens are looking to redeem themselves from their last meeting with the New England Patriots (a 27-24 loss in 2007). After allowing the game-winning touchdown with 44 seconds remaining, linebacker Bart Scott lost his cool and threw a flag into the stands. Cornerback Samari Rolle had a confrontation with an official after he claimed he was called "boy." It wasn't one of the Ravens' proudest moments.
Asked about the Ravens losing their temper that game, Mason paused for a few seconds before saying, "Next question. I'm not trying to be rude. But next question. I can't even remember that game. We're a totally different team."
SERIES HISTORY: 5th regular-season meeting. Patriots lead the series 4-0. The Ravens have lost by a combined score of 44-6 in two games at New England. Their last meeting (2007) was in Baltimore, where the Patriots pulled out a 27-24 win to remain undefeated. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady capitalized on the Ravens' mistakes, throwing an 8-yard touchdown to Jabar Gaffney with 44 seconds remaining. Immediately after Brady's game-winning touchdown, linebacker Bart Scott was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, and when he picked up the flag and threw it into the stands, he drew another 15-yard penalty.
--The Ravens are 8-4 on the road under coach John Harbaugh.
"There's nothing better than a stadium that's three-quarters empty when the fourth quarter starts," Harbaugh said. "Those are the things you try to accomplish."
--Three days after suffering a stinger, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said, "Everything is cool."
Lewis was injured when he collided with teammate Haloti Ngata. After lying on his back for a minute, Lewis was helped to the sideline, but he missed only one play before returning.
"The bottom line is if it's going to exist, it's going to exist," he said. "So, you can sit out five plays or just come back after one. The symptoms ... I was going to have the rest of the day anyway. I just dealt with them."
--Sunday's game against New England pits Harbaugh against Bill Belichick, who has guided the Patriot to three Super Bowl titles.
Asked if there was an extra motivation for a coach to face Belichick, Harbaugh gave a sly smile and said, "The good thing about the game is that the coaches won't be lining up and teeing off on each other during the game. I don't think anybody would pay to see that right now. I'd like to think I'd have the edge though. If we were in a hamburger drill, I think I'd have the edge, but (Belichick) might not think that."
--A couple of years ago, Belichick said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti called him about Harbaugh during the team's head coaching search. Belichick spoke glowingly of Harbaugh.
"John's smart. He works hard, very hard. (He is) very well-prepared. I think he has a great intuition and instincts for the game, how to handle situations, how to handle his team. I think everybody I've ever talked to that's worked with him or played for him has had a lot of good things to say about him, and that's been my experience, too. Steve asked me about it, I think that decision was probably already made, but I do think a lot of John."
--Ngata is keeping track of the tsunami that struck Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. He still has some aunts, uncles and cousins from his late father's side of the family living in Tonga.
"I haven't heard too much about my family yet," Ngata said. "I heard Samoa was hit pretty badly and then it went to Tonga. Hopefully, I can hear from my family later on today."
--Although Ray Rice is the starting tailback, he has just one touchdown, which is five less than Willis McGahee. But Rice isn't complaining.
"I'm more happy that I'm part of the reason that we're getting down there (in scoring position)," he said. "That's what teammates do. I'll cheer my teammates on. I'm happy when Willis is getting in there, I'm happy when we're all having fun."
--Linebacker Prescott Burgess was added to New England's practice squad after the Patriots cut him earlier this week.
--The Ravens are looking to go 4-0 for only the second time in their history.
--The Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 38 games, the longest current streak in the NFL.
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