The storied rivalry between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers is one of, if not the best rivalry in the NFL right now and the teams will write a new chapter as they will meet for the second time this season on Sunday evening. Baltimore captured the first contest with a 13-10 victory in Pittsburgh two weeks ago.
The greatest thing about pure rivalries in sports is that it does not matter what each team's record is or who is on the team, the games are always entertaining, and with a few exceptions, the games are always close. Ravens Steelers is no different. Two weeks ago Baltimore traveled to Pittsburgh and escaped with a hard fought, hard nose 13-10 victory. Although the Steelers were without Ben Roethlisberger, their top ranked total defense held the Ravens offense to two field goals and zero touchdowns, the only touchdown Baltimore scored came via Jacoby Jones and a 63 yard punt return for a touchdown.
Pittsburgh will be out to avenge the loss two weeks ago and are trying to delay the Ravens capturing the AFC North division title, as Baltimore can clinch the division with a victory over the Steelers and a loss from the Cincinnati Bengals. When it comes to rivalries, there are not many secrets between the teams, but this week their is one, will Roethlisberger play? Reports out of Pittsburgh state that it does not look good, but the Ravens are preparing as though he will be playing and no one will believe he is not playing until the Steelers announce that he isn't or the game starts and Charlie Batch is under center.
Baltimore's stellar home offense will have to cope with Pittsburgh's number one ranked defense and the return of Troy Polamalu. The Ravens are the second ranked total offense at home (Denver Broncos) averaging 421.2 yards per game while Pittsburgh's defense only allows 269.8 yards per game on the road. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was held in check in their first matchup this season only mustering 164 passing yards, but he ranks third in the league for average passing yards per game at home with 322.4, so it will be interesting to see how Flacco handles the tough Steelers defense at the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium.
We have no reason, no matter who is at quarterback for Pittsburgh, to believe that Sunday's game will be any different than any other Ravens v Steelers game. It will be a hard fought, hard hitting, hard nose contest between two teams that do not like each other. With so much on the line for both teams as Baltimore is looking to clinch the division, and Pittsburgh is fighting to stay in the playoff race, the Ravens and Steelers should show up with their best and provide a very interesting and fun to watch game.
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