The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Baltimore to take on their hated division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) will be taking on the Baltimore Ravens (4-10) this weekend. While this isn’t the 2012 version of Steelers vs. Ravens, playoff dreams ride on the outcome of Sunday’s divisional scrap.
The Steelers clinch a playoff berth with a nod over the black and purple and a New York Jets loss. Not only that, the opportunity to pour salt in the wounds of a hated divisional opponent cannot be overstated. Baltimore has had its worse season in recent memory, but they always come ready to play whilst lined up across from the black and gold.
The Ravens are a crapshoot at the quarterback position. Regular starter Joe Flacco is out for the season, leaving the football stylings of Matt Schaub, Jimmy Clausen and Ryan Mallet to handle the quarterbacking duties. The trio have provided no security for the Ravens’ offense. It is still unclear who the Ravens will be starting at quarterback this week.
Since losing Flacco for the season, the Ravens have scored more than 20 points on just one occasion in a loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns. Clausen has gotten the starting nod in the past two outings but has failed to provide any consistency. Pitching a shutout against this Ravens attack is an actual possibility for the Steelers’ defensive unit.
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Cameron Heyward, Ryan Shazier, Stephon Tuitt and Lawrence Timmons will be able to key on the rushing attack for Baltimore. Pro Bowl running back Justin Forsett was placed on injured reserve with a broken arm, so the Ravens have trusted Terrance West and Javorious Allen with the starting duties. Neither back has broken off 100 yards this season.
Its almost not even worth previewing the offensive matchup because of how much of a mismatch Pittsburgh’s offense is against Baltimore’s defense. Without any sort of formidable pass rush, Ben Roethlisberger and the offense should light up the scoreboard.
The factors to consider in Sunday’s matchup are the intangible ones.
This game will act as the Super Bowl for Baltimore. A chance to knock their hated rivals out of the playoffs would be a huge accomplishment for this disappointing group. In addition, Clausen will be using this opportunity to audition for starting positions next year. Baltimore will be ready to play.
In addition, Steelers fans cringe when they hear the name of Josh Scobee who missed two crucial field goals leading to a loss to the Ravens in week 4. Roethlisberger was injured and this is a completely different Steelers team, but that could still be a factor. Pittsburgh needs to put on a show this week and show the division who’s boss.