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Ravens Offense vs. Steelers Defense

Wow, on paper this looks like a one sided comparison. The Steelers have the best defense in the league this season, while the Ravens offense ranks near the bottom of the league. Therefore, Pittsbrugh might put a huge bagel on Baltimore come Monday night, right? Uh,...doubt it. As long as the Ravens defense and kicker Matt Stover show up, the Ravens have some sort of an "offense!" That was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek comment!

The reality of the issue remains the ineptitude of the Ravens offense, which at times has moved the ball up and down the field, only to stall in the Red Zone like a truck stuck in mud. Running back Willis McGahee is the 2nd leading rusher in the AFC and wideout Derrick Mason is tied for third in the NFL in receptions. With most, if not all of the injured players who've missed the previous games returning this week, it's not too much of a fantasy to expect this offense to improve enough to put some points on the board against the tough Pittsburgh defense.

Remember, this is virtually the same Ravens team that put two big "beatdowns" on the Steelers last year, including the sack by linebacker Bart Scott that Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger said was the hardest hit he's ever been on the receiving end of. Baltimore has won three in a row over the Steelers and would make a huge statement in the AFC North if they were to spring an upset on national TV. However, prime time television has been the Ravens Achilles Heel, as it always seems to bring out the worst in them. At the same time, Baltimore seems to usually play (up or down) to their level of competition. This game will probably be the toughest competition that Pittsburgh has faced this season, and of course, the same goes for Baltimore as well.

If the Steel Curtain comes down on the Ravens, then the season will be basically over, with Pittsburgh enjoying a two game lead in the division, while Baltimore would have fallen to 0-3 in the AFC North. However, an upset victory for Baltimore would put them in a first place tie and set them up for the remainder of the season which includes home games agains all three division rivals, as well as visits from both the Colts and Patriots in back-to-back weeks. Ouch!