Smith admits that he was warned about the challenge by Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp but initially dismissed the idea.
"I know what he's talking about now," Smith told the club's official website. "Other teams mention that they're playing the defending Super Bowl champions, and their coaches are preaching that to them. There's a difference.
"Every once in a while you hear people say, 'This ain't last year. People are going to give you their best shot anyway, but it is a little different when you hear people talk about playing the defending Super Bowl champions.
"Clearly they use it as a motivating factor to prepare well, practice well. There is definitely a difference. You can tell."
The Ravens face the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.