The Baltimore Ravens are scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Steelers November 6th on Sunday Night Football. To some of the players, it's just one of sixteen games on the schedule. However, to many of them and all of the fans of both teams, it's the second of two of the biggest games on the schedule. Both teams have tough games against other playoff-caliber teams on their schedules, but they pale in comparison to the two wars these two squads forge each season.
The Ravens had a surprisingly easy time winning the 2011 season opener in Baltimore, 35-7. Trust me, Baltimore fans were just as shocked to see the Ravens dominate as much as Pittsburgh fans were watching the Steelers self-destruct. That game was an aberration in the series, as most of the time these teams tangle, it comes down to a late score off of a huge play that turns the tide in the victor's favor.
Neither the Ravens nor Steelers are expecting a beatdown of the epic proportions we saw in week one However, since the Steelers have played solid and consistent ball since that game to rise to the top of the AFC North with a 6-2 record, the Ravens have looked shaky at best, losing embarrassingly on the road two weeks ago and staging a record-setting comeback to win this past Sunday, both times against what were 1-5 opponents.
It would be easy to expect that the consistency of the Steelers should return the week one favor to the equally inconsistent Ravens, but when these two rivals face each other, you can just throw all previous results right out of the window. With quality wins, the Ravens have proved they can play with the best in the league and win. At the same time, be it on the road as visitors or the weaker opposition, the Ravens also seem to play down to the level of competition.
The road has not been too kind to Baltimore this season, as other than their 37-7 destruction of an over-matched St Louis Rams team in week three, the Ravens have looked rather dull at best in their two other road games, both losses, at the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. Heading to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is another road game, but not a typical one.
No question the Steelers should be favored in this game, which they are (-3.5 points), but both teams and fans realize that every time they step on the field, you can expect one of the hardest hitting and most violent games of the season. Hopefully the referees will keep tabs on the game, but let the players play and not be the reason one team gets an advantage that puts them in position to win the game.
As much as Ravens and Steelers fans seem to hate each other, they should pause and reflect upon how this rivalry makes their football season better at least twice every season and while they fight for the AFC North lead every season, in many ways they are reflections of each other in the physical way they terrorize opponents and basically beat the crap out of each other. This should be another great one.
It's 'Steelers Week!'