As if Tom Brady didn't have enough motivation going into this Sunday's game after the playoff beatdown the Ravens gave Brady and the Pats last year, the Patriots' quarterback has some more now.
Brady got ripped on by pop sensation Justin Bieber (yes, typing "pop sensation" made me feel like I was 92 years old) in the 16-year-old's recent attempt at a rap song, a song which I'm sure is getting plenty of play in the Patriots' locker room this week.
In the song, Bieber made fun of Brady for imitating the "Bieber Bangs" look which has swept the nation. Here's the gem Bieber came up with: "Call up Mr. Brady. Tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings 'Baby.'"
I sure hope that's the last time I ever mention Justin Bieber on this blog.
Brady, his hair, and the Patriots will play host to the Ravens on Sunday in a battle of AFC powers.
Here's how the two teams match up statistically:
Ravens: 328.2 (19th)
Patriots: 344.3 (11th)
Ravens: 114.0 (14th)
Patriots: 122.3 (13th)
Ravens: 214.2 (18th)
Patriots: 222.0 (15th)
Ravens: 257.8 (3rd)
Patriots: 384.5 (29th)
Ravens: 101.2 (10th)
Patriots: 112.3 (20th)
Ravens: 156.6 (2nd)
Patriots: 272.3 (28th)
Ravens: -6 (31st)
Patriots: +4 (t-6th)
No, this is not the Patriots' defense of 2007, when New England allowed just 17 points per game and had proven veterans like Tedy Bruschi, Junior Seau, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison and Asante Samuel leading the way.
The new-look Pats defense is young, fairly inexperienced (especially in the secondary), and has allowed 24 points per game.
Although they have lots of developing talent on the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots have been winning games thanks to the play of their offense and special teams. Brady and the offense lost their big-play weapon last week, however, when Randy Moss was shipped to Minnesota, leaving Wes Welker, Brandon Tate, Julian Edelman and Deion Branch as New England's top receiving threats.
The Pats should still be able to put up points with the best of them, but it will be interesting to see how they look without Moss. Welker seems to post solid numbers every single week and Tate can flat out fly, but I think we'll see on Sunday how much they'll miss Moss the rest of this season.
Time for a prediction. New England seems to have all the intangibles in their favor this week - they're at home, they're coming off a bye, and they'll be fired up to face the team that knocked them out of the postseason last year.
But I see the Ravens overcoming all that and picking up another win this weekend. I think they'll be able to keep the New England passing game in check, will get Ray Rice rolling, and will showcase their superior offensive firepower.
Put me down for a 27-17 Ravens win.
What about you? How do you see this one turning out?
Do you envision the Ravens earning another big road win and moving to 5-1? Or do the Pats have too much working for them to fall to the Ravens for a second straight time?