Oct 20, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (left center) leads the team onto the field to play the Pittsburgh Steelers before the game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Thankful for the Rivalry: Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers


Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Ready for another preview of the Ravens and Steelers match-up?

Of the five games remaining for the Baltimore Ravens, this is the biggest, including the game against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17. When the Pittsburgh Steelers come to play, it is always a big game.

This game has huge playoff potential surrounding it. There is always one game that defines who’s going to the playoffs and who’s not. Often it is the last game of the season, now that they have divisional match-ups in the final week.

I am actually saying there are two of these games this season. The winner of this game will play the Bengals for the division or a playoff spot.

When I watch the Raven-Steelers games, the biggest threat is not the Steelers’ run game or their defense, but Ben Roethlisberger. He has the Ravens’ number, and has never ceased his amazing play against the Ravens.

The only statistic for the Steelers that sticks out is their passing attack. Their run game is one of the worst in the NFL, so the Ravens’ defense needs to force Roethlisberger to pass the entire game.

They don’t have the best passing defense, but we’re all Ravens’ fans. This is a rivalry match-up, but not a normal rivalry match; it’s the Ravens and Steelers. These stats really mean nothing.

There will always be the fans that like to see the stats, who’s going to be better. In the end, it all really doesn’t matter. Roethlisberger becomes a new man when he plays the Ravens, and it always comes down to Joe Flacco for the Ravens.

All Ravens’ fans know the pain of Flacco when playing against the Steelers. One game he is stripped-sacked, and another he throws a game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.

So, pay close attention to the two quarterbacks. They will decide who wins this game.

In order to pass well in this game, a night game in Baltimore, it will be cold and the run game will have to be present in some form. The cold weather will affect the passing game, so the running game will have to even out the offensive .

Joe Flacco – He’s the Key

Flacco needs to pass the ball deep to Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and Marlon Brown. Flacco cannot be selfish with the ball. He has to pass it effectively between different receivers, otherwise the Steelers who know us well will catch on and Flacco will have trouble.

We all know the endings of a fumble by Flacco, so the offensive line needs to protect Flacco… putting their lives on the line to protect him. Even if it means Michael Oher pushing the defensive linemen all the way to the bus out of Baltimore.

No matter how much I like it, the Wildcat needs to go. Flacco does not like it, calling it a “high school offense” after the game. Flacco is a big talker when it comes to something he doesn’t like, and he’s the Super Bowl MVP. Give him what he wants.

Not only will it make Flacco happy, the Wildcat will not work against the Steelers. Even in their battered state, the Ravens need a consistent attack, and not a Wildcat with Flacco at wide-receiver.

The running attack cannot be from the Wildcat, but needs to be from Ray Rice; otherwise, it will not help Flacco’s passing attack. If Rice can get going early in the game, with their surprisingly weak run defense, Flacco could use play-action to open up the deep ball.

There are many other factors to the game, but the quarterbacks are often the key factor in the game when it comes to the Ravens and Steelers. I am sure it will be another close game, so if Flacco fails, Justin Tucker will have to step up.

Have a great Thanksgiving today and go Ravens!

Tags: Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco