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Lewis has never hid his admiration for Patriots QB Brady

Ray Lewis will try to drive Tom Brady through the Gillette Stadium turf Sunday, so before that pleasantness begins, we figured it would be a good time to revisit some comments the Ravens linebacker made about the Patriots quarterback last year.

Ray Lewis is a big Tom Brady fan. Real big. When Brady was voted No. 1 in NFL Network's "The Top 100 Players of 2011," it was Lewis (along with Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis) who discussed what made Brady different.

Lewis, who ranked fourth on the list, spoke passionately about the classic Brady narrative, how he didn't have the exemplary physical tools, how he was overlooked on draft day, how they forgot to check his heart, but the linebacker's admiration goes deeper.

"The game ain't hard to him," Lewis said. "It's like 'The Matrix,' where it slows down. It's poetry when you see it from that angle."

Lewis said no quarterback is better at dissecting opposing defenses at the line of scrimmage, something to keep in mind when Brady peers over his line of scrimmage Sunday.

"It's a chess match, because he understands every coverage, he understands every defense," Lewis said. "And if you give it away too early, then the game is like checkers for him."

The Ravens have spent all week preparing for a way to slow down the Patriots' high-octane offense, but Lewis distilled Baltimore's game plan months before the AFC Championship matchup ever materialized.

"You got to get to Tom," Lewis said. "If you don't get to Tom, the Patriots roll."

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