What’s up Baltimore? This is Dave Offord and I have somehow snuck onto enemy territory.. you see, I am a writer for a Pittsburgh sports website, the Terrible Blog. Don’t worry; I didn’t somehow hack into your site. I was invited here this week by the guys at the Baltimore Sports Report to give my point of view on this Saturday’s sure to be blood bath… and I am so excited about it.
I love writing about sports.. Pittsburgh sports especially.. but today it’s not just sports.. it’s Steelers/Ravens Round three. And wow, does this feel like the third round of a big UFC fight or what? This reminds me of Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir.. two heavyweights who just hate the ever loving Christ out of each other and neither will rest until the other is unable to continue.
Sadly I don’t see this week’s referee, Bill Leavy, stopping the fight in the middle of the second quarter.
The trash talk has already begun.. the history is out there for all to see, and there is nothing left at this point except the game. As I look out my window this morning I am staring at four or five inches of snow and the forecast for Saturday
is for more of it. So this is going to be a mess; this is going to be low-scoring; this is going to be exactly what we want it to be, a war. Or to quote Terrell Suggs, “Armageddon”.
So in preparing for this column I decided on researching as much into the recent history of the two teams as possible. You guys are not going to like what I found.
Based on the past, the Steelers will win this game.. but we all know “on any given Sunday (in this case Saturday)” any team can beat any other team. By no means am I comparing this to Seattle beating New Orleans, the Ravens and Steelers are too evenly matched.. to the point it’s scary.
First let’s check out the stats that will piss you off..
- Ben Roethlisberger is 8-2 against the Ravens and has won six straight games
- Joe Flacco is 2-5 against the Steelers – his only two wins were when Ben didn’t play
- The Steelers have never lost to the Ravens in the playoffs
- The Ravens have the 23rd ranked offense in the red zone this season, whereas the Steelers are the number 1 ranked defense in the red zone
- The Ravens average 114.4 yards per game rushing and 3.8 yards per carry, but, and this is a big one, the Steelers allow just 62.8 yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry (bonus stat: The Steelers only allow 2.8 yards per carry on first down).
- The Steelers lead the NFL in sacks this year with 48.
Again, I fully understand that we can throw the history books out the window when looking at this game, so let’s break down some more info that proves how insanely comparable these two division rivals are..
- This season each team has lost on it’s home field to the other
- It can be said that each home team blew it – The Steelers had the lead with a little over two minutes left in the game and couldn’t get a first down, had to punt from their own end zone and the Ravens scored to win the game.. the Ravens had the lead late in the game and Joe Flacco passed on second down, leading to a Troy Polamalu sack and fumble that lead to the Steelers scoring to win the game
- OK Baltimore, this is the most insane stat I have ever heard.. In the past SEVENTEEN games played between these two, the score is TIED 302-302. How is that even possible?
- The betting line, as of Wednesday morning, according to the MGM Sports book is the Steelers by 3.5. Basically that’s a coin flip given the three points the home team gets. Of course Vegas knows how close this game is, but that doesn’t phase me.
Now let’s get into why I am confident the Steelers will win.. In my heart I do not see Joe Flacco winning a big game. Sure he has playoff wins under his belt, hell I was actually rooting for the Ravens last year against the Patriots, but this is bigger than that. This is the Steelers. And on the Steelers, there is a player who just loves to make Mr. Flacco’s life a living hell.
Of course I am talking about Troy Polamalu.
The same #43 who, come Saturday, will have only played one game in the last twenty-three days.. the same #43 who is now healthy.. and of course the same #43 who has single handedly won two games against the Ravens all by himself.
Let me take you back to the AFC Championship game in 2008. Steelers’ linebacker LaMarr Woodley just scored his second sack against Flacco with 4:42 left in the fourth quarter and the Ravens are down by two points. Your, at the time, rookie quarterback looks rattled and throws a pass to the right. Troy makes a leaping interception. As runs it back, he has just one blocker in front of him come the seven yard line, Aaron Smith, and is surrounded by Ravens (granted it’s Flacco and most of your offensive line) and yet he still makes it into the end zone and the Steelers are off to win their sixth Superbowl.
Now I am not taking ANYTHING away from what your superstar collection of defensive players can do, but in this game I will take Polamalu, Woodley, Harrison, Timmons and Farrior over Reed, Lewis, Suggs and McLain in this high stakes game.
On offense, I would take Roethlisberger, Mendenhall, Ward and Wallace over Flacco, Rice, Boldin and Mason. One area the Ravens have a sizeable advantage is the defensive line versus the Steelers offense line. It feels like just yesterday when the Ravens sacked Ben NINE times in one game four years ago.. sadly the Steelers’ line hasn’t really seen much of an upgrade since, besides rookie center Marquis Pouncey. I believe the only way to protect Ben is to keep tight end Heath Miller in the box, which clearly gives the Ravens an advantage at the tight end position.
I am sure the comments below this column will say things like, “Oh he’s a homer.. how could he take Mendenhall over Rice, etc, etc..” and that is what makes this experiment of writing for you guys great.
We both come from two of the top football cities in America and are lucky enough to have elite teams. Just remember since the Ravens have last won a Superbowl, the Steelers have won two. Sure let’s leave you with some more fuel to the fire. Disagree all you like, I am sure I would do the same if I were wearing purple and black shoes. This Saturday will be awesome none the less.
Thanks for reading guys, and please check out my site, www.theterribleblog.com for more information you will surely hate leading up to the game and after.
The Terrible Blog was created in the fall of 2008 by Sonny Amato, a former columnist for the Washington Post, CBS Spin, the Delaware State News, FHM.com and the Pittsburgh City Paper. Dave Offord is the webmaster, designer and guy who likes to make bad jokes when analyzing Pittsburgh sports. Dave writes a column five days a week called, “What I Woke Up To (WIWUT)” and Sonny and contributor Corey Connors fills in the rest with their credibility and journalistic integrity. We also just started a weekly podcast as well with other contributors Damien Bradley and Jim Dunn.
Check out BSR’s Why the Ravens will beat the Steelers on TheTerribleBlog.com.