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Ravens: How likely is a sweep of the Steelers in 2016?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens swept the Pittsburgh Steelers for the third time in franchise history during the 2015 season. It was the first time the Ravens did so while ending the season with a losing record. The other two times the Ravens swept the Steelers was during the 2006 season and the 2011 season. With the Ravens winning eight out of the last 11 meetings between the two teams, how likely is it that the Ravens will sweep the Steelers again? It isn't likely.

Since the Ravens and the Steelers squared off against one another in 1996, back to back sweeps against one team in this rivalry has only occurred once. The Steelers achieved a back to back sweep against the Ravens during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. The Steelers have had two different five-game winning streaks against the Ravens where one streak occurred from 1997-1999 and the other from 2001-2003 (Including playoffs).

On the other side for the Ravens, if the team is able to win the first meeting between the two teams during the 2016 season, the Ravens will have beaten the Steelers four straight times for the first time in franchise history. The Ravens have had a three-game winning streak against the Steelers on three different occasions. The three-game winning streaks occurred from 2005-2006, 2011-2012, and currently from 2014-2015 (Including playoffs).

Recent history has shown that one side doesn't stay on top for too long, but then again, this could be a time where the Ravens might actually have the Steelers number for the long run. The Ravens have the depth at wide receiver and at tight end on offense to take advantage of the Steelers inconsistent pass defense and the Ravens have a zone-blocking scheme in the running game that has given the Steelers run defense trouble over the last few seasons.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens have always found ways to muster up a pass rush against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Ravens run defense seems to have an answer for the Steelers running game. Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has only rushed for over 100 yards against the Ravens one time in his three-year career with only two touchdowns to show for it.

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has played 13 games in his career against the Ravens with only one touchdown during that time and only three games where he had over 100 receiving yards.

The Steelers still lead the overall series 24-19, but it looks like the Ravens are gaining momentum quickly between the two teams.