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Jerod Mayo on AFC championship: Ravens ‘deserve to be here, and so do we’

FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo [1] wants no talk about comparisons between this year’s Ravens and Patriots teams and the two teams that squared off 12 months ago on the same Gillette Stadium [2] field they will square off on next Sunday for the same prize – a trip to the Super Bowl [3].

“I don’t like talking about last year’s game because these are two completely different teams, two completely different teams,” Mayo said. “Look at the personnel, look at the guys that played in last year’s game then look at the teams now. You look at the coaches, look at the game plans, look at the records and stuff. These are two completely different, two completely different years. We’re focused on this year and focused on now.”

Indeed, Jim Caldwell [4] is now calling the Ravens’ offensive plays now, as he replaced Cam Cameron [5] a month before the season ended. With Brandon Ayanbadejo causing a firestorm with his rants against the Patriots in the fourth quarter, there figures to be more hype this week between the Ray Lewis [6] defense against the Tom Brady [7] offense.

“To be honest with you, I really don’t pay attention to the media and the hype of games,” Mayo said. “Baltimore obviously deserves to be in the AFC championship game. They have a good team; good offense, good defense and good special teams. They deserve to be here and so do we. Hopefully, it will be a good game.”

Mayo laughed when asked if he were secretly preparing to face Peyton Manning [8] in the AFC title game before Saturday’s Ravens’ upset.

“Is Brady playing Manning this week? Oh,” Mayo joked.

“It’s like they’re in our division,” Mayo said. “We play those guys every year. It’s always a good game. Those guys are physical, great team. It’s always a good time when you’re playing against another good team. Those guys, they bring it every week.

“It’s always huge to play at home. We love playing at home. The fans here are great. It’s always great not having to get on the airplane. We just love playing at home in front of our plans. We’re not into comparing teams.”