A Ravens vs Steelers game is never an undercard. Yet today’s Ravens vs Steelers game may be the least hyped up of the two rivalry showdowns this weekend. That is mainly due to the Jets, who have turned their battle with the Patriots into a bigger circus than usual. Therefore, fans have been swamped with Jets-Patriots buildup, and are eager to see those rivals finally play and stop talking. However, the Ravens vs Steelers opener has the best chance to deliver on its high expectations today.
While the Jets and Patriots are the kings of pregame smack, these two teams deliver all of their hard hits on the field. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are regarded as the most brutal rivals in the league, setting the current standard for smash mouth football.
But the Ravens vs Steelers rivalry isn’t fully defined by hard hits. They also play close games as well, as their last four battles have gone down to the last minute. Both teams have beaten each other by three points on the road this season – which may favor the visiting Ravens today.
Despite how close these two are, Pittsburgh has the edge over Baltimore historically. The Steelers have won four of their last five showdowns together, including the 2009 AFC championship. Baltimore’s only win in that span came when Ben Roethlisberger was suspended – although it did come against a 3-0 Pittsburgh squad, nonetheless.
Nevertheless, the Ravens vs Steelers war today is a gut check for Baltimore. Joe Flacco has never beaten Roethlisberger when they’ve both been on the field, and Pittsburgh has won their two past playoff games over Baltimore. Although the visitors have been highly successful on the road in January, that hasn’t applied in their trips to Pittsburgh.
Although the Jets and Patriots have stolen the pregame hype for the week, there was still some smack talk to be found. Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs got it going, by saying the winner would reach the Super Bowl – in spite of the Patriots – and by wearing a t-shirt that flipped off Pittsburgh.
Whoever the Ravens vs Steelers winner is, they will likely be pretty exhausted by the end. That may cost them, since they may have to visit New England next week. At the least, the victor will have an extra day off, before either going to Foxboro or hosting New York.
When the Jets and Patriots finally take the field, not everyone expects they will live up to their own talk. The popular pick is that New England will put it away by the fourth quarter, if not earlier. If so, then it will be another example of how their rivalry is better off the field than on it.
On the other hand, the Ravens vs Steelers rivalry doesn’t have to worry about those charges. Everyone expects them to prove it again – and lay out a few bodies – today at 4:30 pm est on CBS.
SB Nation- “NFL Playoffs Buffet: Jets-Patriots, Ravens-Steelers, And War In The AFC”