OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Ravens have played seven postseason games over the previous three seasons -- all on the road. That's why the Ravens players are looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd in Sunday's divisional playoff game against Houston.
How long has it been since the Ravens played at home in the playoffs? Only six players remain from the last time Baltimore played host to a postseason game, in January 2007: inside linebacker Ray Lewis; safety Ed Reed; outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson; defensive tackle Haloti Ngata; and punter Sam Koch.
And just one player on the Ravens' roster -- Lewis -- has won a home postseason game in Baltimore, which came against Denver on Dec. 31, 2000. The quarterback for the Broncos that game was Gus Frerotte.
"It's just hard to win on the road," Lewis said. "I don't care who you are, I don't care how good you are, it's hard to win on the road. For us to work as hard as we did, get 12 wins, do the things we were supposed to do, and now get this home playoff game, we have positioned ourselves to be in the right place. Now we have to go finish it."
The Ravens have the NFL's second-best regular-season home record (27-5) since John Harbaugh became their head coach. The Texans, who committed two false starts in their game at Baltimore three months ago, are prepared for the loud atmosphere.
“The crowd really gets behind them,” Texans left tackle Duane Brown told The Houston Chronicle. “We played them in the regular season, and I’m sure it’s going to be multiplied times 10, 20 now that it’s the playoffs. We just have to stay poised, communicate as much as possible, and be on the same page up front."
Ravens running back Ray Rice is looking forward to his first home playoff game. "It's a dream come true," he said.