DISCLAIMER: Sorry for the poor spelling. I know its really poor, but it was the best i could do. I know some of you may not agree about what i write, but i'd love your feedback anyways!
Baltimore Ravens versus Pittsburgh Steelers. It dosnt get better than this, especially when you see whats at stake, when these two teams clash at, what could be, the most tough game of the year. Both teams want this win. Very badly! Baltimore needs this game to put them self in a possision where they won’t depend on others to get a play-off spot. Steelers really do not need the win, however it would be comfortable. The play-off scenario looks like this atm:
If the Steelers loose against Ravens next sunday, Steelers will tie the first place with Ravens, however Ravens will lead the AFC North because of a better Division record (5-1 against steelers 4-1). However, Steelers will have Browns left to play in the last round, and we should fairly easy be able to take them out (hands down, if we lose to browns we don't desirve second seed..). Granded that both Steelers and Ravens win out, or lose one and win one each, we'll have a situation looking like this:
Steelers: 12-4 head-to-head 1-1 Div: 5-1 Against same teams: 10-4 Conf: 10-2
Ravens: 12-4 head-to-head 1-1 Div: 5-1 Against same teams: 10-4 Conf: 9-4
Which means that Steelers will win AFC North due to better percentage in Conf. This is if Steelers loose to Ravens and both win out. If we win out, we'll clinch at least the second seed aswell. We could get the first seed aswell, if Titans loose another game expect for the one against Steelers, because we'd be better head-to-head.
As you said, if we win we are sure of the second seed and can make a nice stride for the first seed in AFC with a win over Titans!
Before we continue, lets take a look at when these gyus met the last time:
In Week 4, Jeff Reed hit three field goals, including the 46-yard winner in overtime, as the Steelers beat the Ravens 23-20 in Pittsburgh. (thanks to nfl.com). Further more, The Steelers have won two of the past three games against the Ravens and lead the overall series 15-10. Steelers don’t win in Baltimore though. They have only won 1 out of their last 5 games in Baltimore. What really stands out in these games in this TOP, which favors ravens with avg: 34:47min per game.
When Steelers have the ball:
Steelers offence will: Run the ball! I know, you are all thinking im crazy. Everyone have just agreed that its their secondaries who sucks, and they can be hit deep. That is very true, however Ravens have been in all the games, expect the Colts game (3-31), when they shut down the run. Look at the last Steelers game. We could not run the ball at all, and that caused a overtime thriller. Same with Titans. They couldnt run the ball, so that ballgame was decided in the last minute. Now lets look at the Giants game. Giants ran the ball for 200y and won the game 30-10.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know that we most likely won’t be able to run the ball at all, but Ravens sure as hell won’t expect us to come out and run it, and that may get us some easy first downs, because they are going to passrush all the game, which should make some room for Moore.
Now, for the more realistic part: Big Ben needs to rid of that ball, and thats quick. Ravens is going to have a bounty on his head, and Suggs and Lewis is going to be all over him all night long. That should also free up some room in the backfield for some quick slants to Moore and Miller. Whenever we have been running that kind of offence, its been somewhat effective. This is really the whole offensive unit that have to step up here. Ben needs to get his head of his ***, and start to read that field. The o-line needs to buy him just a little time, and for god sake, our recievers needs to catch the ball when thrown too!
Look for: Hines Ward to have a big game, and lay a few cheap shots! He wants revenge, both from the bounty thing, and for his flat out terrible game last week against Dallas. Hines should be a key player against their passrush aswell. Also look for Nate Washington to get a few deep balls thrown after him.
Ravens defence: Ravens will need their secondaries to step up big time. They are giving up way to many yards, and the only thing thats keeping them in the game is Ed Reed, whos been a freak on that field this season (22 recorded interceptions which leads the NFL.) As has the Ravens passrush, who are collecting quiet a few sacks (28.0). Not nearly as many as the Steelers defence (45) but against a very vulnerable steeler o-line, Suggs and Ray Lewis could do a lot of damage.
Look for: Ed Reed to be all over the place. I could see him pick big ben at least once in this game. Also look for Ray Lewis to have a great game like when they met in week 4.
When Ravens have the ball:
Ravens offence: Get rid of the ball quickly! Flacco just can’t stand in the pocket forever against this furious steeler pashruss. That will get him killed, plain and simple. And like that wasnt enough, the steelers d-line is starting to sack the QB aswell, with 2 recorded sacks in two games (Hampton and Travis). He’ll have to watch out though. Steelers defence have shown that they can cover the best throwing teams in the league Dallas, and Ike Taylor is more than capable of covering even the best. Further more, Flacco havnt been very consistant the last few games. So look for Ravens offence to try to run the ball. Steelers are number one against the run, but they have shown weeknesses against the delayed hand-offs, and play-fakes the last few games. We’ve seen this whenever Kiesel is out. This guy just means so much to our run defence, and he is most likely the most underrated player to play that possision in the whole league.
Look for: Le'Ron McClain and Willis McGahee to get quiet a few carries this night. Flacco will get thorn appart if he starts to become one dimensional.
Steelers defence: Kill kill kill kill! Really, just do what we always do. Hurt them, make them affrait to catch a ball. Its so important that the Steelers Defence will be able to shut down their run all game long. We can’t let them get that edge. If we are capable of that, we’ll just let our secondaries and Harrison/Woodley take care of the rest. Flacco has been sacked 23 this year and the Ravens o-line havnt been all that great against fast passrushers.
Look for: Our linebackers to bring the heat on Flacco. Flacco is making mistakes when he is under preasure. WHen that happens, look for our secondaries to intercept that ball. At least two times!
My take: Its going to be a low-scoring affair, but not as low as some would think. I think Steelers will take this with 17-10
Injury reports: Fresh Wednesday Practice Injury Update for you guys!
Mark Clayton (Knee), Yamon Figurs (Knee), Jim Leonhard (Ilness), Derrick Mason (Shoulder), Willis McGahee (Not Injury Related), Ed Reed (Thigh), Ray Rice (Calf) and Matt Stover (angle) did all miss practice Wednesday.
RB Carey Davis (calf), DE Brett Keisel (knee), RB Willie Parker (not injury related), S Troy Polamalu (calf), DE Aaron Smith (not injury related), T Marvel Smith (back), CB Deshea Townsend (not injury related) and WR Hines Ward (not injury related) all did not practice on Wednesday.
Everyone is sore, and thats understandable! Stay tuned for wednesday injury reports!