"I'll put it this way: There would be no better feeling than us beating them Sunday and ... we eliminate their season right there," McCourty said Thursday, per CSN New England. "For me and a lot of my teammates, there'd be no better feeling."
Asked if he feels hatred for the team that knocked New England out of the playoffs last January, McCourty acknowledged: "A little bit."
It's arguably the best game of the weekend because of what's at stake for both teams. A win would give the Patriots an excellent chance at the conference's second seed. Another Ravens victory puts Baltimore one win away from a third straight crown in the AFC North.
The matchup we'll be watching is New England's Gronkowski-free group of pass-catchers against Baltimore's increasingly stingy defense. Without Gronk on the field, the Patriots rank 31st in the league in red-zone touchdown efficiency. Meanwhile, the Ravens, since Week 6, have allowed just 18.6 points per game, fourth-fewest in the NFL.
Another improbable win for Baltimore officially would cast the Ravens as the NFL's hottest team. We all saw what they did with that designation one season ago.