In the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers have beaten the Baltimore Ravens the last three times at home. In two occasions it was on the way to win the Super Bowl.
This time its no different as the Steelers host Baltimore once again at home. The Steelers look like clear cut winners to win as they have caught fire in the last weeks of the season. Ben Roethlisberger has done damage in their last meeting of the regular season having a 340 yards and six touchdowns. But they also had a major injury to Le’veon Bell who will miss this game. To replace him they sign veteran Ben Tate, who will most likely start. In the regular season against the Ravens, Le’veon Bell has had a game of 11 carries 59 yards and 10 carries 20 yards. So he has not really done any damage against the Ravens anyway.
On the other hand, the Ravens also get Haloti Ngata back from his suspension but they lose Eugene Monroe (ankle) Timmy Jernigan(foot, ankle). Although the Ravens have two good players out(and basically most of their secondary), so there is still hope. In that last game against the Browns, Justin Forsett had a great game with 17 carries 119 yards. That shows the running game is back and that is what this offense is centered around. They will definitely need a game from him. They would also need a big game from Steve Smith who has played fairly consistent stat wise and made the big plays when needed. Also they need the “good” Joe Flacco to show up. Hopefully the 2012 Super Bowl MVP shows up or at least the Joe from the beginning of the season. On the defensive side the secondary needs to step up or Big Ben just like every other star quarterback, will have a field day throwing it down field. The Ravens have their backs against the wall but don’t count them out yet.
The keys to the game for the Steelers are to get Big Ben going and to pressure Joe Flacco. When Joe Flacco gets rattled that normally means that the whole offense will be. The keys for the Ravens are to get the run game going, get to and sack the QB and catch the ball. Throughout the whole season, the wide receivers, especially Jacoby Jones and Steve Smith have dropped good throws from Flacco. To help him out, they have to help move the ball by catching it.
The X-factors for each team are Haloti Ngata and Antonio Brown. For Haloti Ngata, he is coming back from suspension and looking to prove himself. He makes good plays including a diving interception against Pittsburgh when he tipped the ball. Antonio Brown is one of the best wide receivers so he won’t have any trouble burning the Ravens secondary.
This game comes down to defense and getting to the opposing teams quarterback and the Ravens have arguably the best duo in Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil to do it. While Big Ben will have a good game they just don’t have the running power to really mix up their offense. Eventually I think the Ravens will catch on and come up with a way to defend the the pass. Therefore I predict that the Ravens will win.
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