In their return to the postseason after a one year hiatus, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves facing a well known foe in their rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
One of sports’ best rivalries has lost a tad of muster the last few years with the Steelers being down, but a Wild-Card matchup is the perfect medicine for this fierce rivalry.
The Ravens have faced the Steelers three times in the playoffs and are 0-3 in those games. All three of those games were in black and yellow land. On Saturday, the Ravens will once again go into hostile territory to try and eliminate their AFC North rivals.
The Steelers will be without star running back Le’Veon Bell, which is a huge break for Baltimore. Not only is Bell a terrific, patient runner, but he is also a scary threat out of the backfield. In a game that is calling for a cold and wet day, which would normally feature a heavy dose of Bell, the Steelers will instead have to rely on recently signed running back Ben Tate.
Without Bell, the Steelers may look to exploit the Ravens depleted secondary with Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant even more. That’s obviously not good for the Ravens. Hopefully they will be somewhat limited due to the weather. But that same weather will affect the corners. One slip could determine the game.
The good news is that Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh have postseason experience in Pittsburgh. Flacco can handle the weather and the pressure. The Ravens also get a fresh Haloti Ngata back from suspension, who is angry at himself that he let down his team and could let out that anger on Ben Roesthisberger’s chest.
Is Pittsburgh the better team? Probably. But the playoffs bring out the best in everyone and the Ravens and Flacco always seem to rise to another level in January. Despite the Ravens’ flaws on in the secondary and suddenly, on the offensive line, their postseason evidence suggest they will rise to the occasion.
I’m going against my better judgement on this but Postseason Joe Flacco and Postseason Ravens are a different animal. Ravens 23, Steelers 20