What a match-up, Ray Lewis vs. Tom Brady, Ravens vs. Patriots, crab patties vs. crabby pants. One year removed from Billy Cundiff missing a 32 yard field goal wide left in the waning moments. Now Ray Lewis has a chance to better good ole Tom one last time.
Most people outside Baltimore wanted to see Manning vs. Brady, that is a nice match-up one that we have seen over and over again. We have seen the mind boggling 4th and 2 from the Colts their own 28 by the patriots, the 20-3 beat down in Foxboro by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Brady owns an 8-5 advantage over Manning all-time.
Instead we get Mr. Raven, Ray Lewis vs. Pretty Boy Tom Brady. I will be the first to say I am not a Brady guy. A “Brady is the savior, the best quarterback of his time.” That title clearly goes to Peyton Manning. Saying that I can not wait for the chess match these two will play. Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense have caused Tom Brady more headaches than any other player and team in the AFC. The only other team to mess with Brady as bad as the Ravens are the NY Giants. The Ravens have produced Brady’s worst quarterback rating, 49.1 , in their wild-card match-up in January 2010. They also produced his second lowest quarterback in last years AFC Championship game, 57.5.
Last years game was a classic, the Ravens rallied to have a chance to win or at worst tie and send the game into overtime. Lee Evans dropped a sure touchdown, one that would have given the Ravens a 27-23 lead, and forced the Patriots to score a touchdown. Ray Lewis will use this as motivation for his team. Not that they need any on the Lewis farewell tour. How could they not get up for a man who has led their defense for 17 seasons. Lewis is the Ravens and the Ravens are Lewis.
This could be Lewis’ last game in his storied career. No defensive player has been as dominant as Lewis during his time with the Ravens. He will go down as one of the greatest linebackers of all time. In the Lawerence Taylor and Dick Butkus family. If the Ravens lose at least Lewis goes out to a Hall of Fame quarterback and coach.
Lewis and the Ravens already own a regular season victory over the Patriots this season. They won 31-30 on a Justin Tucker 27 yard field goal as time expired. That was in week 3 of the season which is a lifetime ago.
The one thing we do know is Brady, Lewis and company will leave everything on the field at Gillette Stadium. Whoever emerges will have earned it in a battle. These team are only separated by five points in their last six games, the edge goes to the Ravens, 149-144. How much closer can you get to that, less than one point a game. These teams know each other inside out. Yet this one will be different. Yes, the playoffs are lose or go home, but for Lewis it’s lose and go home forever. Go put on a suit and sit on the set at ESPN, I’m sure Lewis would rather suit up on Feb. 3 for Super Bowl XLVII. Personally I would like to see Lewis do his pre-game dance one more time on the biggest stage of them all. By Steve Kish