Ravens-Patriots Preview: Baltimore Defense Makes This a "Hair vs. Harried" Match

Jeffrey BoswellAnalyst IOctober 15, 2010

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03: Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens tries to knock down a pass by Charlie Batch #16 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 3, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Note: The quotes in this article are fictional.

Baltimore @ New England (-3)

Randy Moss has been out of New England for almost two weeks, yet his impact is still being felt in Foxborough. Word around the campfire is that Tom Brady and Moss engaged in a shouting match in which Brady told Moss to shave his beard. Moss countered by telling Brady to cut his hair because he looked like a girl.

"In Randy's defense," Bill Belichick said, "he did say Tom looked like a 'very attractive' girl. In Tom's defense, Randy's beard was getting a little nappy. When I see cornrows and a hobo's beard, one image comes to mind: homeless rapper."

"But whether the conflict actually happened or not matters not; it will still go down as the greatest 'hair versus hair' match since Ric Flair and Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin squared off in 1981. In actuality, when we traded Moss, it became a 'loser leaves town' match."

The 4-1 Ravens lead the AFC North, relying on their usual brand of punishing defense accented with an improving offense showing signs of explosiveness. In last year's Wild Card Round of the playoffs, the Ravens dismantled the Patriots, 33-14, and expect the Patriots to seek a measure of revenge.

"With no Randy Moss," said Ray Lewis, "the Patriots have no vertical threat. That means I'll have to keep an extra keen eye on Wes Welker. I'm sure Welker will be working his usual underneath routes, which is the area I patrol, and once I lay a shoulder into his sternum, he immediately becomes a 'horizontal' threat."

The Patriots replaced Moss with Deion Branch, whom they acquired from the Seahawks for a fourth-round pick. So who got the better end of that deal? That's easy—the Ravens.

Baltimore wins, 26-20.