AFC Championship: Steelers Pointed Towards Tampa

Pro Football NYCSenior Writer IJanuary 16, 2009

Ravens' Run Coming To A Frigid End

I had my doubts about whether the Pittsburgh Steelers could make it back to the Super Bowl this season.  They lost one of their best weapons, RB Willie Parker, for a good stretch of the season with injuries, limiting their offensive capabilities.

But now, Parker is back and running hard again.  That is good news for the Steelers and bad news for the rest of the league, most notably the Ravens.

Baltimore's smothering defense has been great this season, especially against Pittsburgh, but suddenly they appear as if they might be undermanned in the AFC Championship Game this Sunday night in Pittsburgh.

They will need all hands on deck to beat the Steelers, but that is not going to happen. DE Terrell Suggs is doubtful with a severe shoulder injury and CB Samari Rolle, the Ravens' veteran on the wing, will not play.

Across the field, Parker, QB Ben Roethlisberger, and WR Hines Ward are coolly waiting for their opportunity to expose the hobbled Ravens D.

I like the Steelers to win this game handily.  On offense, they will not gift-wrap the game for Baltimore the way the Titans did last week.  On defense, Dick Lebeau will not allow a rookie QB to beat him in a big spot.

I know Joe Flacco is the real deal, but his time has not come yet.  He will have plenty of opportunities in the seasons to come, but he will be denied here.

Steelers 26, Ravens 10