Week 13: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday December 5, 2010 8:05 PM
Line: Ravens -3 O/U 39
Although on paper the final score was close, at no point did the Baltimore Ravens allow the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to believe that they had any business being in the game. Despite some miscues and another characteristic slow start, the Ravens pushed helpless Tampa Bay around and came out with a relatively easy victory. That was last week, this week, however, is a horse of a totally different color.
On Sunday evening, the Pittsburgh Steelers come sauntering into town to fight for control of the AFC North. On the line are bragging rights and a likely playoff bye in round one. To the victor go the spoils, and make no bones about it, this game will be an all out war. It always is. December 5, 2010 has been circled for months, and now we finally get to see who’s best.
RavensGab.com Keys to the Game
THROW! THE! BALL!
Look, I know I normally belabor the point about the Ravens run game to the brink of nausea. This week however, I think the Ravens really need to air the ball out and spread the Steelers off the line. If they can attack the secondary with success early on it will open up the running game for Willis and Ray later as the fourth quarter drags on. it is not often that you hear me say this, but Cam needs to open up the play book and find Joe some pass plays that will allow him to chew up the Steelers D while avoiding their talented pass rush.
Protect the Ball
This is a game that is likely to come down to the final minute of regulation (and possibly beyond). The Ravens cannot afford to be sloppy with the football, as three points might be the difference between W & L. If the Ravens allow as few turnovers as possible they will almost certainly find themselves in the realm of victory. There exists no greater key to winning than protecting the ball.
Move the Ball Quickly
Speed and efficiency will be the names of the game on Sunday night. Joe must move the ball quickly to discount the incredible speed that the Steelers employ in beating up opposing offenses. Harrison and Woodley will come after you lighting fast, and if Joe doesn’t get his passes out quick and his running lanes developed rapidly, this will be a very long night of football to watch. The same thing goes for the Defense. They need to be quick to the ball, quick to Ben, and quick to force the Steelers into three and outs. Do not let the tempo of this game draw into grind it out, smash mouth football. When that happens, the Steelers get lucky and they win games.
Make the Steelers Pay for Mistakes
If and when the Ravens make mistakes, and they will, the Ravens have got to turn those errors into points. Anytime the ball is turned over, and time the Steelers allow for an extended drive, the Ravens cannot come away empty. this has to be a death of a 1,000 cuts. Strike fast, strike often, and bleed this team out.
Play with Wild, Reckless, Merciless, Abandon, but for God’s Sake Hit Smart
The Ravens have to come into this game like a hoard of screaming, howling, bat-poop insane barbarians. They have to hit as hard as they’ve ever hit before, run as fast as they possibly can run, and simply out muscle this team right off the field. If you can win the physicality battle with the Steelers you will almost always walk away with a victory. The key for the Ravens is to do all of these things, but do them smart. You know the refs are going to have itchy flag fingers, so do not give them an excuse to bury your team in penalties. Hit smart, aim with your shoulder, for god’s sake WRAP UP in your tackles, and get the job done efficiently. The Steelers are an emotional team. if you out muscle them and keep your head about you, they will self destruct. Make them beat themselves at their own game.
Ravens Gab Predictions
Jonathon Scruggs (9-2)
Ray Lewis laughs at your three rivers, he laughs from his Mountain. These teams are as even as two teams can be. The edge goes to the Ravens playing at home before a psychotically charged up crowd.
Ravens 15 — Steelers 13
Matt Jergensen (9-2)
“These games are always hard hitting and points will be at a premium. There are a few factors that give Baltimore the edge in this one. First is lineplay – The Ravens appear to have the starting Offensive Line back intact as both Oher and Chester have practiced this week while the Steelers are struggling with injuries. Second the Home field advantage is usually a big key in these games and the Ravens have had great success playing at M & T. It should be enough to give the Ravens their second sweep of the Steelers in franchise history.”
Ravens 20 – Steelers 13
Gene Winner (8-3)
The Ravens need to make a statement in this game by playing a complete game for four quarters. In this match up especially, Flacco and the offense must execute in the red-zone. On defense the key is containing Big Ben. You have to like the Ravens at home
Ravens 20 – Steelers 18