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Ravens need to step up in ever-important game against Steelers

The team, the fans and anybody connected to Thursday's game needs to step up.

Patrick Smith

Ray Rice is gone, like that, with the potential that his career over. From a football standpoint, for his end to come so brutally is a shame. However, he's earned the punishment. Now the fallout. The Ravens play the Steelers on Thursday and a division game, at 0-1, can define the season. With other Wild Card contenders, notably Miami, Tennessee, San Diego, and the Jets looking good, the Ravens cannot afford to fall behind one more game behind division (and Wild Card) opponents Cincinnati and Pittsburgh

Thursday's game is big. I personally think it's the biggest one since the Super Bowl XLVII win. The season could possibly be at stake and honestly, having the team unravel like it did in 2007 is not out of my mind. At this point it is only fear and not a concern but one can simply not help to wonder if this will do the team in.

However, the one constant present for the Ravens is Joe Flacco. Flacco can be counted on. Whether he plays great like he did during the Super Bowl run or not so great like he did last year, Flacco is generally clutch and typically excellent in situational football and especially in the fourth quarter. He gives Baltimore a chance to win.

And here, amidst adversity, he must lead the offense. Considering everything, Flacco really did play well against Cincinnati. He played well enough for the team to win. The touchdown throw to Steve Smith was one I believe only Aaron Rodgers can make. The drops were drive killers and even Flacco's horrible blunder is understandable. Watching the game, I felt like a field goal wouldn't help the situation. The Ravens needed a TD badly. Flacco pressed, itching to make a play. I understand that.

The defense must come together. They've been together longer then the new offense has and by that logic, have to be the unit that leads the team. Thursday, they'll have to bring the pain. Play fast furious, and aggressive. Get the crowd in the game. Fly around the field. It's prime time. This is the time Baltimore needs to bring it and where we have brought it in the past. This is where we rise up.

The Ravens need to play with their hair on fire. This big of a night game calls for the all black jerseys. Bust them out. It's been proven in the past. The Ravens even (technically) beat the undefeated patriots wearing the all blacks and under Harbaugh, They've never lost wearing them. Just a little superstition ahead of the biggest game in over a year.