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Torrey Smith: Nobody had Baltimore Ravens winning

Let's admit it: Torrey Smith is correct.

   

The Ravens receiver met with reporters Monday and spoke honestly about Saturday's 38-35 playoff victory over the Denver Broncos that catapulted Baltimore into an AFC title-game rematch with the New England Patriots.

A fair point.

The Ravens resembled anything but the AFC's second-best outfit down the stretch. A slumping offense and tired defense did nothing to foretell the double-overtime stunner over Denver, the AFC's hottest team heading into the weekend.

That title arguably now applies to the Ravens. Some want to pin Baltimore's January surge on emotions attached to the pending retirement of Ray Lewis, but back-to-back playoff wins have more to do with tangible improvements on the field.

The Ravens rolled the dice on offense against Denver, triggering a rare, near-perfect performance from quarterback Joe Flacco, who found Smith three times for 98 yards and a pair of scores.

The Ravens will be challenged to duplicate that effort against the Patriots, but Smith dismissed any weight attached to last year's crushing loss to Tom Brady and friends.

"Last year is in the past. We came up a few plays short," Smith said. "We're a different team now."

This time, we believe him.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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