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Ravens Peaking at Right Time

The Baltimore Ravens won twice in a row for the first time since opening the season with three straight. Granted it was against the weakest teams in the NFC North and both games were at home, but when you beat the teams you are supposed to by a combined score of 79-10, it still is impressive In fact, the Ravens have now moved to the league's #2 team in points allowed, giving up an average of 16 points/game, second only to the New York Jets' 15.5 However, over the teams last eight games, they've been the NFL's stingiest, allowing a paltry 11.9 points per game. At home they only gave up that same 11.9 points/game while scoring an average of just under 30 points/game (28.8), while finishing their home schedule 6-2. On the road has been a different story, though. So far the Ravens are only 2-4, averaging 20 points a game while surrendering 21.7. However, since the Bye week, they are being outscored by an average of only 14-12. The Green Bay Packers have been the only team since the Bye week, home or away, to score more than 17 points against us (27) and they put up 36 in Pittsburgh yesterday in their disappointing last second 37-36 loss

Steelers fans will say that we barely beat them in overtime with their third string QB a month ago and with Ben Roethlisberger it will be different this week in Pittsburgh. Steelers fans will say that we just beat up on terrible teams that just rolled over for us here in Baltimore But then Ravens fans will point to the Steelers loss vs Oakland in Pittsburgh, plus their losses at Cleveland and Kansas City in return, much less to a Bears team in Chicago that the Ravens just put a beatdown on yesterday.

As both teams' fans know though, it doesn't matter what the standings or records are when these two teams meet each other. It is a knock down streetfight, with pride on the line more than anything else When the Steelers beat the Ravens three times last year, that hurt much more to Baltimore fans than seeing Pittsburgh hoist the Super Bowl trophy. Regardless of where the Ravens finish this season, if they sweep the season series from the Steelers, then we will have the trash talking advantage until next year.

However, as the standings and upcoming schedule pans out, the Ravens should still be able to make the post season even if they don't go into Heinz Field and win next Sunday, as the other contenders' schedules are real tough and the tie breakers favor the Ravens in most cases once the smoke clears. Right now, the Ravens are in the 1st Wild Card slot and teams will have to leap over the Denver Broncos to get ahead of the Ravens. The Ravens finish out their regular season at the Oakland Raiders and while Oakland has not had a good season, they have beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh and just beat the Broncos in Denver yesterday. Finishing up in Oakland will be tough but if the Ravens take care of business in Pittsburgh this coming Sunday, it might not matter by the time we get to the West Coast.