FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The last time the Patriots and Ravens met in the playoffs, the game was over shortly after it began. This time around, the message from players is clear: the battle will need to be won before it is fought.
"We control how we play and how we prepare. You're going against a great football team. You have playmakers all across the board over there, some of the best guys to play their position are on that team," safety James Ihedigbo said on Monday. "We have to out-prepare them and get ready to play a physical football game."
Players returned to work on Monday, turning the page from their 45-10 win over the Broncos on Saturday.
"We're moving on. That was the message," rookie offensive tackle Nate Solder said. "I got a lot of studying to do."
"It's got to be a one-day-at-a-time thing," special teams captain Matthew Slater said. "You don't win a game on Sunday, you win it throughout the course of the week. Giving ourselves a chance to have success, it starts today."
One of the themes of last week was that the Patriots were treating their tilt with the Broncos as any other game. Players on Monday stressed how they are staying in their same routine this week for Sunday's AFC Championship match-up with the Ravens.
"During the season, the way that they do it here is you're getting into a system, a routine all season so you just continue tow in," Solder said. "It's a routine machine, almost. I like going about it that way. That's how we're doing it."
Yet, players also sent the message that their efforts will have to be ramped-up another notch this week.
"Definitely increases, because you're that much closer to your ultimate goal," Ihedigbo said. "Your preparation has to increase, your level of intensity has to increase. You're playing for something huge here. An opportunity to go to the Super Bowl and be Super Bowl champs."