There’s been a lot of talk about the Week 1 game between the Ravens and Steelers. Some argue that the game is being overhyped and it is just another game. Others will say it is the most important game of the whole season. There’s validity to both statements, but one is more right that the other.
The Steelers have dominated this rivalry over the past few years. The Ravens have not been able to find the formula to beat them and this has usually cost them. Baltimore has not won the AFC North since 2006. The past three years, the Ravens have come in second in the division and earned a wildcard. This can be attributed to their lack of success agaisnt the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’ve been neck and neck going into the last few weeks for the past couple of seasons, but the Steelers always find a way to come out on top. It’s costed the Ravens inumerable times. While the Steelers rested up during an extra bye week, the Ravens traveled half way across the country to take on another team. I honestly can not see the Ravens make it to the Superbowl as a fifth or sixth seed so that means they have to win their division.
Most would agree that the Ravens and the Steelers are each others biggest competition in the AFC North so beating them is a must. 1.The ultimate goal is to win the Superbowl 2.To increase you chances of getting there, win the division 3. To win the division, beat your biggest opponant. The formula is simple but easier said than done.
But I still haven’t answered why this game is particular is so important. Well, for multiple reasons. The obvious has already been stated, but there are more under the surface:
The winner of this game will carry a lot of momemtum with them for the weeks to come. Beating your biggest division rival during the season opener is something to be proud of. A win will make the team stronger as a unit and will remove some offseason doubts. Think about how much of a relief it would be to know that you’ve beaten your biggest rival and at worst you’ll split the two games with them.
2. Win/Loss Record
Because this monumental game is in week 1, the winner will have a one win advantage in the division and the loser will be playing catchup. Although a one game lead is not much in the NFL, it will provide a small cushion in a tight AFC North race that won’t be decided until the final weeks of the season.
Every football game is draining but none are anything like a Ravens/Steelers matchup. Putting so much into a game mentally and physically and than still coming out with a loss is something that is hard to bounce back from. While this is not a huge factor, it is still something to keep in mind. No team wants to hear the bashing that the media will provide to the losing team in the following week.