In the previous five meetings dating back to 2007, only one wasn't - the Ravens' 33-14 victory at Gillette Stadium in a 2009 wild-card playoff game.
The others have all been three-point games, with the Patriots taking all of them, including the AFC Championship Game, 23-20, on Jan. 22.
The matchup between the two teams on Sunday Night Football should be no exception.
"I'm certainly excited, and I know all my teammates are as well," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "We've had so many great games against the Ravens over the last bunch of years. It's a Sunday Night game. We are both coming off of losses. [There] will be a lot of intensity and a lot of emotion. The Ravens are such a physically tough team and smart. We know it's going to be that type of game. We have to bring our best, because we always seem to get the best from the Ravens."
Patriots play-action passing
Expect the Patriots to try to establish the run early against the Ravens. New England had a lot of success running the ball in January with BenJarvus Green-Ellis (15 carries, 4.5 average) but didn't do enough of it. That shouldn't be a problem this year Stevan Ridley is a much more explosive runner than Green-Ellis, and he should do even more damage with the guard trap runs the Patriots used so well in the playoff game. That will setup the play-action passing of Brady.
The Patriots adhere to the Bill Walsh belief that if you really want to sell play action, you pull a guard. They've been doing more of that this season, and the Ravens are the perfect team to perfect it against. Both Ravens middle linebackers, Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain, had a tendency to bit on play-action. Expect the Patriots to use it to free up tight end Rob Gronkowski, and to take a few shots with receiver Brandon Lloyd deep. Brady and Lloyd have just missed two "shot" plays in the first two games.
The Ravens may have to think about doubling Wilfork more in this game. They can't let unheralded left guard Ramon Harewood try to block Wilfork one-on-one. The Patriots doubled Ngata on 16 of 29 pass plays, and four of 17 against the run in January. That may have to continue because Dan Connolly has moved from center to right guard for the missing Brian Waters. Connolly did well against Ngata at center, but Ngata is a better rusher playing over a guard.
Ravens RT Kelechi Osemele vs. Patriots LDE Rob Ninkovich
Osemele, a second-round pick, is huge at 6-foot-5, 335 pounds and long arms. It would seem to be a mismatch against the undersized Ninkovich (6-2, 260). However, these are the matchups Ninkovich thrives in because he has exceptional quickness and has the veteran savvy to setup younger tackles. And with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco a pocket-passer, Ninkovich won't have to worry about Flacco escaping the pocket so he can pin his ears back.
Battle outside the numbers
In January, both teams paid extreme attention to receivers that like the middle of the field. The Patriots focused on running back Ray Rice and receiver Anquan Boldin. With Boldin, they hit him or bracketed him with a linebacker and defensive back on almost every snap. They wanted to make Flacco beat them outside the numbers on the field with receivers Torrey Smith and Lee Evans (who has been replaced by Jacoby Jones).
It's simple math. Those plays hit a lower percentage, so make the opponent earn it. The Ravens did the same thing by hitting Gronkowski coming off the line and then guarding him with safety Bernard Pollard, and the Ravens often bracketed slot receiver Wes Welker. The Patriots didn't have any legitimate outside threats, so the Ravens packed the middle of the field to make Brady earn his living away from his favorite targets. The strategy for both teams worked, so expect more of the same.
That means there should be ample opportunities for both primary outside receivers - Brandon Lloyd (Patriots) and Smith - down the sidelines. Whoever wins the matchup between Lloyd and Ravens cornerback Cary Williams, and Smith and Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty, could tip the game one way or another. Let's just say both teams like the matchups for their offensive players. Expect a lot of shots deep.
Baiting of Flacco
The Ravens have given Flacco more freedom this season, and sometimes he looks terrific with it. His throw off his back foot for a touchdown to Jones against the Eagles was a thing of a beauty. But on tape, Flacco looks like the same quarterback he always is. He'll look awesome for a stretch, and then you'll be puzzled by his lack of pocket awareness and some of his decisions. Flacco's interception into triple coverage against the Eagles was just mind-boggling for a player with his experience.
Expect the Patriots to do two things to "trick" Flacco. In the red zone, New England may try to play a "Tampa 2" coverage - two deep and wide safeties with a linebacker dropping into coverage deep down the middle - to intercept a deep pass in the corners, or an underthrown ball in the seam to a tight ened. In other parts of the field, the Patriots may bluff blitzes by the linebackers and then try to sneak them into coverage where Flacco might not be expecting them.
The other thing is you must constantly change coverages and pressures - "spin the dial" - to where Brady isn't sure what he's going to see after the snap. Brady is one of the best at winning the down before the snap. He knows what to expect after it. If the Ravens can get Brady to the point where he's taking the snap with indecision, they'll have a great chance. That means the Ravens need safety Ed Reed to disguise coverage well (he always does), and outside linebackers Paul Kruger and Albert McClellan have to apply pressure early.
Greg Bedard is a contributor to NBCSports.com and the NFL writer for the Boston Globe. Follow him on Twitter @GregABedard.