Crazy, I know. After all, there have been several polls on BTSC asking the faithful to vote on who they'd prefer to lose between BAL and SD, BAL and NE, etc., all of which invariably result in Baltimore winning by a landslide in the neighborhood of about 99 to 1 (the one is usually MaLoR). "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
But that and yesterday's games got me thinking. The Steelers have the Vikings coming into Pittsburgh next week. And the Vikes seem a little beaten up (Peterson, Harvin, and others) thanks to the Ravens, who have a greater focus on physical domination than most teams. I know these MIN players (like most NFL players) are just as professional as you can get, but at the same time I wonder if they might not be a little emotionally drained as well given way BAL-MIN finished up. Bottom line: I have no idea which team will win, but if Pittsburgh pulls it out then, believe it or not, I'll feel a small measure of gratitude for the physical beating the Vikings took at the hands of Baltimore, I'll feel grateful that MIN played BAL just before they played my team.
Which led me to look at the schedules and notice that BAL will actually play most of the tough teams left on PIT's slate just before PIT does. Consider:
DEN plays BAL in week 8, then PIT in week 9
CIN plays BAL in week 9, then PIT in week 10
GB plays BAL in week 13, then PIT in week 15
I'm sure there's a difference of opinion as to whether there's any advantage to playing these common opponents first like BAL or second like PIT, or whether this even creates any kind of advantage in the first place. To the mind of a fan like me, however, I actually kind of like the idea that Baltimore, Pittsburgh's toughest divison rival, will play these other teams first. I can't completely explain it, but to me it feels a little like being the home team in a baseball game and getting "lasties". Us Steeler fans get to watch our rival try to navigate these "obstacles" first, after which we might have a better sense of what it will take for the Steelers to win out against that team (and that team might be a little more "softened up" in the process). Probably silly, but still comforting to my mind for whatever weird reason. What do you think? Do you think PIT trailing BAL around the schedule amounts to any kind of advantage whatsoever?