Rivalry Night At Heinz

Special Preview- Week Four

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Ravens: After the terrible performance in Cincinnati the week before, they bounced back nicely and got a win over the Denver Broncos to position themselves nicely in the open AFC North. When I watch the Ravens, I see a completely different team and Joe Flacco almost seems rejuvenated because they finally surrounded him with some weapons such as Michael Crabtree who’s played in some big games in his career and Willie Snead who was catching passes from another Super Bowl-winning quarterback in Drew Brees. The thing that will always sit in the back of my head is their consistency because one week, they look as if they are ready to contend once again in the AFC and the next week, they won’t even show up and they’ll get destroyed by their opponent. But as we have seen in the past, they can get it going and make a run but right now, it’s too early to see if they can do that now. No matter what the Ravens do offensively, the defense will always drive this team and once again, they’re off to another solid start. For some years, their secondary was the weakest link but they have improved it since. It’s Steelers night and I don’t think I need to say anymore except to be prepared for a hard-hitting game that will have us all talking once again.

Steelers: They truly saved their season last week and their year has been one roller coaster so far. First, it’s the drama with Le’Veon Bell and him sitting out because of contractual issues with the team, players are discussing a player who isn’t even with them and as I said, Mike Tomlin is also to blame for this because he was also mentioning him and his job as a head coach is to have the team focused. They begin their season in Cleveland and tie with the Browns, a game they should’ve won and hey gave up 42 points to the Kansas City Chiefs in week two. Last week in Tampa Bay, they got off to a hot start and looked like the Steelers we know they can be but that was just for a half. The second half, they allowed the Buccaneers to come back and almost take the lead, but the defense held on when it mattered the most. They have no problems at all scoring. James Conner has come in and provided a spark offensively and he doesn’t have to be Le’Veon, he just has to play his own game and that is exactly what he has done so far and Ben still has it even 15 years later under center and it also helps when you have one of the best receiver duos in Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster. The issue is their defense and view at these numbers. As an offense, they average 29 points a game. As a defense, they allow 30 points a game and that’s unlike the black and yellow. You’ve truly seen just how much Ryan Shazier’s absence is missed. They will look to win back to back games tonight.

Ravens Player To Watch: Marlon Humphrey– Jimmy Smith is out with an injury and he is their best cover corner. I’m pretty sure we’ll see him shadowing AB plenty of times during the game tonight. It’ll be a challenge, but who wouldn’t want their shot at trying to limit the best receiver in the game?

Steelers Player To Watch: Vance McDonald– Ben has always had a security blanket to get the ball too and he just happens to have two of those options. One is Juju and the other is Vance McDonald. Baltimore will double AB in the red zone and try to lock down Juju, more wide open looks for him.

Final Analysis: It doesn’t matter to me what their records are or where they are positioned in the division when these two teams play, it’s always must-see television. This is a true rivalry. They hate each other, the fan bases hate each other and there’s so much intensity. Throughout the years, these battles have always been close and the defense has always been a major factor. As of late, the offenses have shown up and these games have been shootouts. I’m sure there will be another chapter written in this rivalry tonight. The Ravens need to establish Buck Allen and Alex Collins early on because the Steelers are terrible at stopping the run. For the Steelers, I’m flushing Flacco out the pocket and making him mobile because he’s a different guy when he has to run.

Prediction: Steelers 35 Ravens 31