Steelers And Ravens Renew Rivalry

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au
Joe Flacco will be looking for back-to-back 300-plus yard games. Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au
One of the NFL’s nastiest rivalries is renewed on Monday morning (AEDT) when Pittsburgh hosts Baltimore .  Just one win separates these teams at the top of the AFC North, and the result of this match could go a long way to deciding the division winner at the end of the regular season.

The big news from last weekend wasn’t so much that the Steelers could only beat the awful Chiefs in overtime, it was revelations a shoulder injury could keep longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out for possibly an extended period. Byron Leftwich came in for ‘Big Ben’ against KC and is likely to start against the Ravens ahead of fellow veteran Charlie Batch. Wideout Antonio Brown is also likely to miss the clash with an ankle injury, while running back Rashard Mendenhall is also questionable after missing a large chunk of the season with an Achilles problem.

The Ravens used running back Ray Rice sparingly in a rout of Oakland last weekend, and he may not see much ball against a Steelers defence which has been very good in stifling opposition running games this season. Wide receiver Torrey Smith caught just two passes against the Raiders but both turned out to be touchdowns.

Joe Flacco will have happy memories of his last visit to Pittsburgh; he had a 300-yard game and threw the winning touchdown with eight seconds remaining. It was the Ravens’ second straight win against the Steelers, and Flacco should go in to this game full of confidence after a 341-yard, four touchdown performance against Oakland. The Ravens’ offence is almost unstoppable at home, but poor on the road, though, averaging just 17.5 points per game.

The last four regular season games between these teams at Heinz Field have finished with three-point margins on each occasion, with only one of those going to overtime. Baltimore has won two of those and Pittsburgh the others. 

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