It was only three short weeks ago that the Ravens faced the Steelers in Pittsburgh, then flew them cross country to face the San Diego Chargers; now they get to face the hated Steelers again, but at least this time it is at our house.
The Ravens won the first contest. True it was an ugly 13-10 win, but when it is pretty when these teams meet?
This second meeting between the Ravens and Steelers also promises to be tough and ugly. The Steelers are looking to end their two game losing streak and the Ravens are hoping to win the AFC North. The Ravens can win the division with a win and a Cincinnati Bengals loss.
The Ravens also hope to continue their winning streak at home. With 15 consecutive wins, they have the longest winning streak in the National Football League (NFL). They also have a 12 game winning streak against AFC North opponents.
While the Ravens are favored to win the game and quarterback Joe Flacco plays better at home, there are no guarantees between these teams and it is likely to be another close one as suspected by CBS-TV’s Phil Simms:
“It doesn’t matter if Big Ben plays or doesn’t play, I think this game will be close,” said CBS-TV’s Phil Simms. “That’s what these two teams do. That’s why they have Jim Nantz and me and CBS’ No. 1 production crew here. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are two of the NFL’s best teams, and they play each other like there’s no tomorrow. We love being part of an event like this.”
Despite their injuries, NFL.com ranks the Steelers defense number one; they still hold opposing teams to 275 yards per game, over 50 yards less than any other defense in the Conference. However they do a poor job forcing turnovers with only ten in the last eleven games, second lowest in the NFL.
Meanwhile the Ravens continue to struggle on offense, scoring only one offensive touchdown in the last ten quarters.
Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is questionable for Sunday; he is a game-time decision. He has ankle, knee and finger injuries and did not practice this week.
Also questionable is cornerback Chris Johnson with a hamstring injury and defensive end Pernell McPhee. Both were limited in practice this week.
Tight end Dennis Dickson is doubtful after suffering a knee injury in last week’s game against the San Diego Chargers.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been ruled. He still has pain from shoulder and rib injuries. Third string quarterback Charlie Batch will get the start. It will be the second time the Ravens face Batch this season.
Also out for the Steelers is linebacker LaMarr Woodley with an ankle injury he suffered last week against the Cleveland Browns.
Tackle Mike Adams and left guard Willie Colon are both questionable.
Safety Troy Polamalu is listed as probable though he is likely to play, but not for every snap.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown is also probable.
Despite Flacco playing better at home, the Ravens are still facing the number one ranked defense and I believe it will be a close game. Both teams are hungry to win and it is likely to be a classic defensive brawl between these fierce AFC North rivals.
I won’t lie, it would be nice to win the AFC North this Sunday, but if that doesn’t happen, I’d settle for a win over the Steelers.