James Harrison sacks Joe Flacco
Good afternoon everyone.
You aren't a real football fan if you're not excited for this one. I'll be giving a general breakdown of the two teams and offering my prediction. Your comments are welcome.
Steelers' QB "Big" Ben Roethlisberger
This one should be a no-brainer. On one team, you have a quarterback who has been to three Super Bowls and has won two of them, while on the other team, you have Joe Flacco.
Flacco is a great QB, but he isn't in the same league as Roethlisberger.
Flacco lost some of his favorite targets this offseason in Todd Heap and Derek Mason. He did gain a great talent in Lee Evans though.
Roethlisberger lost Antwaan Randel El, but he gained a suitable replacement in Jerricho Cotchery.
Ravens' RB Ray Rice
This one is tough for me.
Both are great overall backs, but when I look into it, I have to look at the offensive lines. Both are hideous. If anything, Pittsburgh gets a microscopic edge because of Maurkice Pouncey.
A running back is more than just a carry machine. They have to be available in a screen pass or slant route. A receiving edge clearly goes to Ray Rice.
However, if I look at just a pure runner, I see Mendenhall being a tad more successful.
This one is so close that when I factor in the offensive line for both teams, Rice's receiving ability and Mendenhall's rushing attack, I can't pick a winner.
The Ravens lost two huge targets during the offseason in Todd Heap and Derek Mason. They did gain Lee Evans, a true vertical threat.
Pittsburgh lost veteran WR Randel El, but gained Jerricho Cotchery.
While Boldin, Housh and Evans are no laughing matter, the Steelers have an edge here.
Mike Wallace holds a speed advantage over almost anyone in the league. Hines Ward is a sure Hall of Famer, along with young playmaker Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and veteran Cotchery, this tandem should strike fear in any defense. Along with one of the best tight ends in Heath Miller, this isn't an offense to take lightly.
These two teams have arguably the No. 1 and No. 2 linebacker set in the league. And it's scary how two of the best are in their last years in the NFL.
Ray Lewis. Just the name alone will strike fear in any offense. He is also a sure Hall of Famer. He is paired along with Terrell Suggs, or T-Sizzle. T-Sizzle has Big Ben's number, as I've seen him put down Roethlisberger more than anyone.
James Harrison, Lamarr Woodley, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons. This is the best linebacker group in the NFL. The tandem of Harrison and Woodley is unstoppable. While Harrison is coming off back surgery, he is still one of the best.
Very slight edge: Steelers
Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu are the only good thing going for Pittsburgh's secondary.
Chris Carr and Ladarius Webb are better corners than anything Pittsburgh has to offer, outside of Ike Taylor. The Ravens also drafted rookie Jimmy Smith who has a ton of raw talent.
With all things considered, this should be a close game.
However, barring injuries or a ridiculous amount of mistakes, I can't see how Pittsburgh could lose.
The offense is firing on all cylinders, and the defense is just as good as last year. Baltimore will make it close as they always do, but I think Pittsburgh's attack is just too much for Baltimore.
Steelers 24 - Ravens 14