(Note: This intro oozes so much professionalism that you may find yourself cringing at the pure objectivity of it. If so, continue on reading, it gets a little bit better.)
Well folks, it’s Steelers Week. Since this matchup is in the City of Stench, there’s not as much hype as the second game, where the odor-bearing Pittsmellians invade the lovely city of Baltimore. Regardless, it’s a game that is circled every year on the schedule no matter how good either team is in that particular season.
With the teams splitting the last 14 matchups 7-7, you can rest assured knowing that these two teams are evenly matched, and always have been. It’s one of the best matchups in the NFL, and if not for the Patriots and Colts battling it out each year, the Ravens-Steelers games would be the premier rivalry in a league that has some great ones.
With the Squealers missing Ben “Non-Convincted Rapist” Roethlisberger (I’ve retired the “Fat Ben” nickname for now), Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch have stepped in and done their jobs extremely well. To be honest, though, Rashard Mendenhall has been the man for the yellow and puke on offense. With 332 yards in three games and a 5.2 average per carry, the Illinois alum has been running better than ever.
Alright, I’m starting to get sick. I’ve given them too much credit already for going 3-0 against below-average teams, and I haven’t even written a full paragraph. The fact of it is that it doesn’t matter who’s playing quarterback, running back, linebacker, or long snapper. This is a rivalry game in every sense of the term. Each team brings their best, plays their hearts out, and more often that not, the game is decided by one possession or one play. By the time the ball gets kicked off the tee, nobody will care that the Steelers are 3-0. Nobody will care that the Ravens are 2-1. Nobody will care about the Ravens’ win on Monday Night Football, or their loss in Cincinnati. The crowd will be raucous, the fans watching on their TVs will be pumped up, and intense football will be played on the field.
Last year was an incredible year for Ravens-Steelers football. In both games, the home team came out on top, and by an extremely close margin. In Week 12, it was the Ravens pulling out the overtime victory behind the leg of Billy Cundiff and the hands of Paul Kruger, 20-17. In Week 16, with playoff chances on the line, the Squealers managed to win 23-20 behind a 4th-quarter field goal from Jeff Reed. Both games were filled with big plays, controversial penalty calls, hostile crowds, and emotional players. When push came to shove, the teams were basically even, as shown by the scorelines in both games.
This year, expect the games to be no different. While we’d like a better result in Pittstankburg, you can’t ask for much more as a fan than a game like this one. Both teams have added weapons, and both teams have grown as a whole. We don’t know whether the defenses will dominate, or if it will be a high-octane, high-scoring game, but we do know that it’ll be a damn good game, and you can count on that.