What’s your pick for the most relevant rivalry in today’s NFL?
It has to be the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.
These two are constantly fighting for AFC North supremacy and have met twice in the playoffs in the last three years.
The game of the week and one of the best of the year has arrived, and the Steelers are looking for revenge. They were completely humiliated 35-7 in the Week 1 opener at Baltimore after the previous five games had been decided by a touchdown or less.
With the Steelers looking for their sixth win in the last nine meetings, here is everything you need to know about the Sunday Night Football game of the week:
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
When: Sunday, November 6 at 8:20 p.m. EST
Listen: WBAL 1090 AM and Baltimore's 98 Rock in Baltimore and WDVE-FM (102.5) and sister station WBGG-AM (970) in Pittsburgh. Streamed at nfl.com.
Betting Line: (5-2) Baltimore Ravens @ (6-2) Pittsburgh (Steelers -3)
If you believe in revenge being a big factor in the NFL, then this is an easy one. The Steelers were demolished in every phase of the game back on September 11th and have had to win six of their last seven games just to make people forget about it.
With the strong home crowd and the bitter taste of Week 1 still fresh…you have to lean towards the red-hot Steelers, who are currently 4-0 STU at home.
Ravens are 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight meetings.
Steelers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games.
Steelers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven vs. AFC North.
What’s at Stake?
There is more at stake in this game than any other game between now and the last four weeks of the season.
That’s how big this one is.
If the Ravens win, they gain a full game on the Steelers and the all-important tiebreaker, which has come into play in recent years.
If the Steelers win, they jump two games up on the Ravens and once again hold a commanding lead in the AFC North, while the Ravens will potentially fall to third place depending on if the (5-2) Bengals beat the Titans.
Playoff seedings at the end of the year will also be affected by this result.
In other words…this game is huge.
Ravens Injury Report
Ben Grubbs, G: Questionable (toe)
Lee Evans, WR: Questionable (ankle)
Steelers Injury Report
Emmanuel Sanders, WR: Questionable (knee)
James Farrior, LB: Questionable (calf)
James Harrison, LB: Doubtful (eye)
LaMarr Woodley, LB: Doubtful (hamstring)
Key Matchup: Joe Flacco vs. Steelers' defense
Flacco has been horrendous of late, but he finally came alive in the second half of their incredible come-from-behind win over Arizona.
He gets to face a Steelers linebacking unit that has been devastated by injuries. Farrior, Harrison and Woodley all may miss the game. DE Aaron Smith is out for the year.
If the three are sidelined, rookie Chris Carter, second-year man Stevenson Sylvester and Larry Foote will take on bigger roles. Tomlin also didn't rule out going to a four-man defensive line.
This is not going to be a blowout. The Steelers are desperate to even the score, but they're dealing with a ton of key injuries on defense and have already been working with a patchwork offensive line.
Before beating the Patriots, the Steelers were feasting on cupcakes like Arizona, Jacksonville and Indy—so let’s not crown them just yet.
On the other hand, the Ravens haven’t played a full 60-minute game in awhile, and it appears as if Flacco is beginning to regress a bit in his fourth year. He needs to get Ray Rice the ball in the middle of the Steelers' defense to take advantage of his speed against the inexperienced linebackers.
QB Ben Rothlisberger is enjoying a career year through the air, but he had one of the worst outings ever in Week 1. I expect him to test the Ravens' corners, with Mike Wallace on the deep ball early and often while trying to avoid future Hall of Famer Ed Reed. He won’t be as careless with the pigskin this time around.
The Steelers' offense is the story in this shootout.
Final Score: Steelers 31, Ravens 27