Pittsburgh Steelers Rise One More Time In Week 18 NFL Power Rankings


For the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) this Saturday’s matchup with the Baltimore Ravens is their first appearance in the post-season since being defeated 29-23 by the Broncos in overtime during the wild card round on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012 in Denver.

With their 27-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh became the No. 3 seed in the AFC and with that seeding came home field advantage for this playoff meeting. The contest will get underway at 8:15 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on NBC.

The AFC North combatants split their two-game regular season contests. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 26-9 on Thursday, Sept. 11 at M&T Bank Stadium, while Pittsburgh took the rematch 43-23 on Sunday, Nov. 2 along the North Shore.

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It should be noted that the Steelers have been victorious all three times that they have faced the Ravens in the playoffs, with all of those contests in the Steel City, and Pittsburgh’s margin of victory was by an average of 11 points. However, the counter argument is the Ravens’ 6-1 record in the wild-card round of the playoffs, which is the finest in the National Football League.

The National Football League regular season is in the books. Time to examine another Tale of the Tape for the Black and Gold:

Steelers At Home: 6-2 On The Road: 5-3

AFC North Record: 4-2

AFC Record: 9-3 Non-Conference: 2-2

Against Teams With Winning Records: 6-1

Against Teams With .500 Or Worse Records: 5-4

Steelers Total First Downs: 379 Opponents Total First Downs: 314

Steelers Third Down Conversions: 93 of 208 Opponents Third Down Conversions: 71 of 189

Points Scored: 436 Points Allowed: 368

This season, the third place Baltimore Ravens finished 10-6 overall while going 3-3 in the AFC North, and 4-4 on the road.

As the new year gets underway, let’s see what the experts around the internet think about the Black and Gold and their place in the playoff pecking order of the NFL.

Bleacher Report – This Week #7 / Last Week #7 – Matt Miller does like the experience of both Ben Roethlisberger and the coaching staff in the playoffs.

CBSSports – This Week #5 / Last Week #8 – Pete Prisco uses a five-prong playoff ranking and has the Steelers fifth overall in the NFL.

Chicago Tribune – This Week #6 / Last Week #7 – Brad Biggs did bump Pittsburgh up one this week, but feels that they could be ripe for an upset by the Ravens.

ESPN – This Week #6 / Last Week #7 – John Clayton says there is no Steel Curtain, just an attacking offense that gets the job done.

FanSided – This Week #6 / Last Week #9 – Josh Sanchez believes in the momentum of their four-game winning streak in December.

NFL.com – This Week #6 / Last Week #7 – Elliot Harrison thinks the NFL playoffs are better with Pittsburgh in the mix and that the outcome will come down to if Le’Veon Bell can go or not on Saturday night.

USA Today – This Week #6 / Last Week #7 – The team at USA Today also moves Pittsburgh up the rankings one more rung going into the playoffs.

Washington Post – This Week #6 / Last Week #8 – Mark Maske is not sure that Roethlisberger can duplicate his six touchdown performance when the Steelers beat the Ravens in the ‘Burgh, if Bell is not in the backfield.

Yahoo Sports – This Week #6 / Last Week #7 – Frank Schwab joins the chorus that if Bell can not go, he does not like the Steelers chances to move forward.

Will the Steelers be able to ground the Ravens again without Bell in the backfield? Let me know your prediction for this week’s contest against Baltimore in the comments section below.

From The Clipboard: It was reported by various media outlets that Bell, linebacker James Harrison and quarterback Landry Jones were not full participants in the Steelers’ practice on New Year’s Day…Meanwhile, safety Troy Polamalu, cornerback Ike Taylor, offensive tackle Mike Adams, nose tackle Steve McLendon, and tight end Michael Palmer were able to go at practice…According to the folks at ESPN Stats and Information, the Ravens are 0-4 this season when Joe Flacco is sacked multiple times.