You know it's going to happen, and I expect everyone to just tune it out.
The Patriots are hosting the Ravens in the playoffs. The Ravens beat the Patriots in the 2012 AFC Championship game and went on to win the Super Bowl. That will be a major talking point. It holds zero bearings on this upcoming game.
Current Ravens who played in 12 AFCCG: O: Jacoby, Pierce, Flacco, Osemele, Yanda, Torrey; D: Ngata, Upshaw, McPhee, Suggs; Not much.— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) January 4, 2015
The Ravens will be featuring very few players from their championship team. They have Jacoby Jones and Bernard Pierce, both still in very minor roles. They have two starting guards in Kelechi Osemele and Marshal Yanda. There's receiver Torrey Smith. They have their quarterback in Joe Flacco. That's the only carryover on offense.
On defense, they have defensive linemen Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee, and linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Terrell Suggs. That. Is. It.
No Anquan Boldin. No Ray Rice. No Ray Lewis. No Ed Reed. No Paul Kruger or Art Jones. No Bernard Pollard.
The Patriots? They upgraded from Brandon Lloyd to Brandon LaFell. Wes Welker is now Julian Edelman. Rob Gronkowski wasn't playing. There's no Deion Branch or Daniel Fells. True, there is no Aaron Hernandez- but it's undeniable the offensive weapons are better.
On defense, Aqib Talib played eight snaps. Chandler Jones played two snaps. Defensive linemen Brandon Deaderick, Justin Francis, and Jermaine Cunningham all played major roles on defense. Alfonzo Dennard was the number cornerback on the season.
Oh, how things have changed. Some of it's for the worse (the Patriots offensive line is weaker, the Ravens defensive line added Elvis Dumervil), most of it's for the better (the Ravens have literally zero people in their secondary). But just ignore the noise when it starts yapping about the 2012 season.