"This is How-ard Co-sell and welcome to Monday Night Football! "
Gee, I really miss that guy, as well as Dandy Don Meredith and even, yes I'll say it, OJ as well. Who knew that he could kill you on the field as well as off back then? MNF was sooo much better back then compared to now, as the guys up in the broadcast booth were almost as big stars in the league as the players were. There was no Sunday, Saturday or Thursday Night Football and certainly no NFL Network nor the Sunday Ticket! Thanksgiving games were extra special, although always watching the Detroit Lions was underwhelming even way back then. At the same time, no matter how much you hated the Cowboys or Redskins, their Thanksgiving Day battles were always classics (did someone say Clint Longley?).
Anyway, this week's game will certainly not be one of those classics. On second thought, for Steelers fans, last season's MNF destruction of the Ravens (by halftime) might be part of their highlight reels for years to come! If I dare regurgitate the mess, it was well over by the end of the first quarter as Pittsburgh scored the first four times it touched the ball and the Ravens seemed to turn it over every time they touched it. While certainly not making excuses for the loss, the defense was missing both of its starting cornerbacks and this game probably marked the beginning of the end of Steve McNair's career, as every time Steelers linebacker James Harrison breathed on him, he dropped the ball like a scaredy-cat and ran home crying!
Hopefully, this year's game will be quite different. When I say different, I don't actually expect the Ravens to win the game. Pittsburgh is just a tough team to beat, much less in their own crib, and on a national TV stage no less. Don't forget that the Ravens seem to hate the prime time games as much as the Steelers love the limelight. This game should keep both teams consistent in their "streaks."
Despite the Ravens improvement over last season and an apparent return of their previously injured players, the Steelers will prove to still be a better football team. I fully expect the Ravens defense to hold Fast Willie Parker to limited hard earned yards. While Big Ben will get his passing yards and even TD's, he won't have anywhere near the success nor time to sit back and wait for his receivers to get open that he enjoyed last year. He'll get hit hard and often by the Ravens' pressure from their front seven. However, it won't be enough to keep the Steelers from putting enough points on the board to easily win this game.
Offensively, the Ravens will have trouble moving the ball on the Steelers, as they will certainly stuff the run and dare the Ravens to beat them through the air. Blitzing on nearly every passing down, the Ravens will most likely self destruct enough to turn over the ball and give up easy points to the Steelers offense. Let's get this one over without any injuries, get out of Steeltown and start looking ahead to next week's game. Once again, ouch!
Season Record: 2-2