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Friday, October 31, 2014

Who I like, Baltimore part II

This, as usual, should be another interesting chapter in the Steelers-Ravens rivalry.

There are many reasons why, but here's the big one for me.

The loser of this game will likely find itself in last place in the ultra-competitive AFC North.

Cleveland hosts Tampa Bay Sunday, a game the Browns will likely win to get to 5-3, while Cincinnati hosts Jacksonville with a move to 5-2-1 likely.

The loser of the game between the Steelers (5-3) and Ravens (5-3) will fall to 5-4.

If it's the Ravens, it could be a big fall for a team that was alone in first place just two weeks ago. I don't know if a team has ever gone from first to last in the matter of two weeks this late in a season.

More importantly, the loser of this game can likely count itself out of the race for the division title.

Both Pittsburgh and Baltimore currently find themselves with two losses in AFC North games this season.

The Steelers have split with Cleveland and lost at Baltimore for a 1-2 record. Baltimore, meanwhile, owns victories over Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but was swept by Cincinnati.

It's highly unlikely that a team with three losses in the division will win the division, though it's not impossible.

But at 5-4 with three losses in the division, it will be very tough.

Sunday's game will mark Baltimore's fourth on the road in its past five games. The Steelers had a similar stretch earlier this season. The final road game of that stretch was at Cleveland, and we all know how that worked out.

The Steelers looked like a tired team in that 31-10 loss to the Browns and looked to be dead in the water.

So for all of the talk, coming out of Baltimore this week about how the Ravens are "comfortable" playing at Heinz Field, I think that's just the head coach and some key players trying to convince themselves it's true.

I don't know how comfortable a tired Baltimore team will be in front of what promises to be a rowdy night crowd on the night Joe Greene's jersey is being retired.

And then there's this: Since 2005, the Steelers have been underdogs at home eight times previously, including last week against Indianapolis. Their record in those games is now 6-1-1 against the spread and 5-2 straight up.

Baltimore is a two-point favorite in this game, but I'll take the home team, 27-24


Anonymous said...

I'm not a superstitious person and I also think they're gonna win for the reasons mentioned but a part of me wished you'd continue to pick against them.

marc said...

while this is no surprise, I think the key is slowing down the run and getting the ravens into 3rd and long situations. that's not easy to do, but I think the steelers are capable. the steelers must come out and just be absolutely insanely physical from start to finish.

if they can keep the ravens in 3rd and long, that will help the steelers suspect secondary. flacco blew the bengals game with back to back INT's that set the bengals up for 10 points. in Baltimore's 3 losses this year, flacco has 1 TD, 4 INT's and completed less than 60% in each game. when he completes over 60%, they win every time.

flacco thrives off of a strong rushing attack and deep balls that often times draw penalties. I truly believe they game plan to try and draw those long penalties. stop the run and get after him.

DD said...

marc -- I completely agree with the game planning for PI calls. It is a chickensh!t way to play the game in my opinion, but it is effective. If Ben actually had a more accurate deep ball, I'd be willing to accept taking advantage of it a bit easier. As is, I hate Flacco and the Ravens so keep the flags at bay refs!

Bobby Gust 'drazl' said...

As much as I would love to see the offense just wallop them I think I would prefer to see James just have a monster day. He's always gotten up for the Ravens ... would love to see just one more before he rides off into the sunset.

Anonymous said...

Who knows what Steelers team will show up? I always like the home team in this series. I'll go Steelers by <3.

Dale Lolley said...

Steelers are averaging 33.75 points per game at home this season. Only game under 30 was the loss to Tampa Bay.

Offense seems very potent at home.

Nick c said...

Just to put PFF in a bit more perspective, at the midway point they have Ben as the highest ranked QB in the league, Brown as the highest WR, and Bell as the highest RB. The Steelers as a team are the second to the Cowboys.

Patrick said...

I like steelers in this but in an ugly one that goes to ot. 20-17

Anonymous Brian said...

I have absolutely no idea. Maybe not as high-scoring as it would seem, and a Ravens-Steelers game breaks out, Harrison gets a safety, and somebody fumbles late to ruin it?

Ravens - 16 Steelers - 15

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of 27-24, 24-21 type of predictions, which I totally understand given the history of the match-up, but I think on top of being tired, the Ravens are a beat up team right now with a handful of key guys listed as questionable. I'm almost always conservative with my predictions, but in this case I really feel like the Steelers win this by 10 or more.

Bobby Gust 'drazl' said...

Thank You James :-)