Bill Belichick: 'Baltimore Ravens game will be close'

New England Patriots' Bill Belichick on December 30, 2012
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New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is expecting a tough game when his side face the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship on Sunday.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is expecting a close game when his team take on the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship on Sunday.

The Patriots beat the Houston Texans to advance to the title match while the Ravens triumphed over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos for a chance to earn a Super Bowl berth at Gillette Stadium.

Belichick told reporters: "They've shown that they can handle difficult situations, whether it's playing on the road, or the double-overtime game last week against Denver, or whatever the challenges are, they stand up to them.

"They're as good as any team we've played this year, better than most, and I think that's the way it should be.

"We're playing a team that we have a great game with earlier in the season. It came down to the last play, and we don't really expect anything much less than that this time around."

The Patriots will be without tight-end Rob Gronkowski for the visit of John Harbaugh's side, as he broke his arm against the Texans in the Divisional round.

New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowsi on September 30, 2012
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