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No Place Like Home for the Ravens

The Ravens take their 8-0 home record this season into Sunday's AFC Divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium.

 

Samara Sisserman said when you watch a game in person, it’s not just a game; it is an experience.

From all of the pregame activities and tailgating outside the stadium, to the emotional salute to the troops with the playing of “Proud to be an American,” to Ray Lewis’ electric pregame introduction, Sisserman said the fans are already feeling electric before kickoff.

“There is just no place more exciting to watch an NFL game than M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore,” said Sisserman, who along with her husband, Justin, have been season-ticket holders since 2004. “The stadium never stops rocking from the opening kickoff to when the final whistle blows.”

Sisserman, whose family operates , believes that electric atmosphere will reach a whole new level at 1 p.m. Sunday when the Ravens host the Houston Texans in an AFC Divisional game.

The contest marks the Ravens first home playoff game in five years.

Sisserman, along with more than 70,000 other Ravens fans, expect to leave the stadium the same way they have during each of the team’s eight regular-season games: with a win.

Home Sweet Home

The Ravens went undefeated at home this season for the first time in team history and joined the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints as the only teams to accomplish that feat in 2011.

Overall, the Ravens have won 18 of their last 19 home games and are 27-5 in Baltimore since 2008, first year at the helm. During that span, only the New England Patriots (28-4) have posted a better home record.

Harbaugh said fans shouldn’t downplay their significance of their impact in a game.

“Our fans are fantastic,” he said. “It's very loud. Our fans are very passionate. You don't see very many opposing colors in our stadium, ever. And that's something that we appreciate as an organization and as players and coaches."

Seeing a stadium filled with fans wearing purple for a playoff game will be a new experience for most of the Ravens. Only six players—Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jarret Johnson, Haloti Nagta, Sam Koch and Terrell Suggs—were with the Ravens during the team’s last home postseason game; a 15-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 13, 2007.

Since then, the Ravens have played seven postseason contests—all on the road—and have gone 4-3 in those games. For Ravens like running back Ray Rice, he said having the home fans behind them for the first time in the postseason will only provide additional motivation for him and his teammates.

“It's a dream come true…” said Rice, who joined the Ravens in 2008. “I played every playoff game that there was since I've been a rookie, and they've all been on the road. It's very tough. Playing on the road is tough, no matter how you want to slice that.

“Other teams, crowds, the atmosphere …Trust me, it's a lot different than playing at home. So, a home playoff game definitely plays big on our half."

The 12th Man

takes his role as the team’s “12th man” very seriously. He said Baltimore fans are loud throughout the game and make it very difficult for opposing teams to get into any kind of rhythm on offense.

“You can just see that opposing teams have a lot of trouble when they come into Baltimore,” said Pollara, who lives in Parkville. “Fans know they can make a difference and it’s important we show that to the Texans on Sunday.”

said home fans really do make a difference during the course of a game.

“It really gets the players up when they hear the cheers coming from the crowd,” Bruno said. “Whether it’s a few hundred at a high school game or the thousands cheering on the Ravens, hearing that support goes a long way in helping keep the players’ adrenaline flowing.”

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