EXCLUSIVEMatt Damon is in NFL denial ... 'cause the guy honestly believes the New England Patriots would NEVER have been defeated by the Baltimore Ravens if they weren't riddled with injuries.
Problem is ... the Pats weren't as injured as Damon made them out to be.
Matt -- a Boston-native -- had just arrived at LAX last night when someone asked why his team folded in the AFC Championship this past Sunday.
"Lotta injuries," Damon said ... "They couldn't beat us full strength."
Obviously, the Pats were missing Rob Gronkowski going into Sunday's game ... but that's really their only big-time guy who was sidelined with an injury (forearm).
A couple of important Pats players were hurt DURING the matchup -- including CB Aqib Talib and RB Stevan Ridley ... but hey, that's part of the game, right?
But when Damon was asked who he's rooting for in the Super Bowl -- the Ravens or the 49ers -- he still refused to acknowledge defeat ... saying, "I'm going for a healthy New England team, that's the best team in the country."
FYI -- Damon couldn't have been NICER at the airport, signing autographs for EVERYONE who asked ... and doing it all with a smile.