Friday, October 1, 2010

Quoth the Raven: Baltimore

In a sense, I'm playing the Devil's advocate right now. If the Ravens are a championship caliber team, then the start of the season and their win over the Browns last week was poor evidence... to me anyway. Flacco's dominant performance with the help of Boldin is something I have basically expected this season, but have only seen glimpses of. I know it's early and they may be finding their rhythm, but slugging out a win against the Jets, losing the same way to the Bengals, and then staging an outstanding (but only one score lead, mind you) game against the Browns doesn't elevate my confidence. Wake up boys, you're headed to Steeler country.

Sunday's matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers marks the 31st time these two teams have met since the Ravens "joined" the League in 1996. The Steelers hold the winning shadow over the Ravens like the so-called "curtain" that Pittsburgh is unquestionably known for. The 19-11 head-to-head record goes to the Steelers. Right now Pittsburgh looks like an unbelievable story, dominating the competition in the absence of their fearless leader. But as any black and gold wearing fan knows, the Ravens are never to be taken lightly.

And perhaps that is where my sentiment lies as I prepare for Sunday. Unbiased, I'd take Pittsburgh in this game, but as most of you know - I bleed purple and black. I support my team through thick and thin and right now, while I fear the Steelers are the better team, I can't take the Ravens lightly either. They need to prove something on Sunday. They need to establish that they are the team to be reckoned with in the AFC North. Right now it's the Steelers...the tension builds. I'm reminded of the fact that these two teams are the only AFC North teams to have won the Super Bowl...the rivalry grows.

If Baltimore is to come out on top it will be by a narrow margin, no one expects anything else. Needless to say, the keys to their success will be the lack of mistakes. Turning the ball over can't happen. Even without Roethlisberger, the Steelers have been putting up points and hindering opponents. Mendenhall needs to be contained, Batch needs to be pressured. But that won't happen all game, someone will score and that will force the other team to step up on offense. The Ravens Defense is still top notch, but there are flaws - call it age, call it injury, whatever. Flacco needs to shine. He has three pro bowl receivers now, and an all-pro tail back. Rice will play, use him too. Do it right and you'll win the day. You want a prediction? How about this:

Ravens 20, Steelers 19.

I'm worried about this game Baltimore, I won't lie. It's time to prove something. Historically the Ravens never get the hype. This off-season they were the talk of the League, Super Bowl picks virtually across the board. And I bought into it. You guys look great on paper, show it on the field. Now the Steelers are a 1 point favorite, Ravens are the underdog again. Some say determination and sheer will are enough to forge a victory. Well this will be a statement: taking out the undefeated Arch-Enemy...in their home base, their lair. That incentive enough for you? I'll be watching.

4 comments:

  1. As someone who finds himself saying, "$#!%...We're playing the Ravens this week," twice (or thrice) a year, it's nice to know that there is someone else saying, "$#!%...We're playing the Steelers this week," with the same frequency.

    Here's to a brutal and exciting game!

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  2. The Purple People Eaters ( sorry Minnesota, that's all Baltimore's now!) meet the Steel Curtain..OMG this should be a slug fest and with any luck could be a very entertaining afternoon as well! This one's got "i went to a street brawl and a football game broke out!" totally covered, Rock and Roll!

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  3. This is gonna be a Good one. Usually the score is tight and sometimes held to minimums too but both teams could bust out Good here.

    While I feel Good about my Steelers pick I don't expect the win to come easy. Ray Lewis is playing young and consistent. Ray Rice could find ways to run and carry the defense on him.

    Both teams are providing what I think will be one of the best games of the year.

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