Hey, everyone. My name is Kellen Barton, and I’m a featured blogger over at Titan Sized (which on Fan Sided, as well). I also happen to be from Baltimore, and am a Ravens fan, so I’m gonna try to keep some Ravens stuff up here during this transitional period. Let me know what you think in the comment section, especially what kind of stuff you’d like to see on The Ebony Bird, and I’ll try to make the most of what you’ve got to say. I guess that’s that.
I’m pretty sure you all know that Sunday is shaping up be the biggest regular season game that the Ravens have played in years. Now that last week’s “rivalry game” against the Redskins is out of the way, we can focus our attention to the real animosity, with the AFC North title happening to hang in the balance.
The 10-3 Steelers have looked shaky at best for long stretches of the season. Five of their ten wins were by an average margin of victory of 4 points (including “barely wins” vs. the Browns, Jags and Chargers). That is, needless to say, not very impressive. Also included in those five close wins was their narrow defeat of the Ravens, on Monday Night Football, during Week 4.
A few quick thoughts stick out to me leading up to this game:
- Pittsburgh was very fortunate in winning the first match-up. If it weren’t for Joe Flacco‘s (the rookie version) fumble for a TD, the Ravens would have probably pulled out the upset. The bad news for Pittsburgh is that Flacco 2.0 has looked years better than he did the first 5 weeks of the season. In that span of time, Flacco has noticeably outperformed Ben Roethlisberger.
- Speaking of Roethlisberger, the Steelers can’t protect him. It also happens to be that their O Line isn’t run blocking particularly well, either. Pittsburgh might able to get manhandled at the line of scrimmage (on offense) and somehow “BS” a win at home against the Cowboys, but that’s not going to fly in Baltimore. People are making a big deal about Hines Ward, and the now infamous “bounty,” but if I’m a Steelers fan I’m more worried about Byron Leftwich knowing the game plan, than any of that. If the Ravens get to Big Ben as often as they might, Roethlisberger might get “Mendenhalled.”
- Let’s not lose perspective, for a second, as how good the Steelers D is. They’re #1 overall in team defense for a number of reasons, and they’ve limited some pretty high impact offenses. The most points they’ve given up in a game? 24- in a loss to the Colts. The key for the Ravens (however many times we’ve said or read this before) is to limit the mistakes on offense. It’s highly unlikely that Joe and co. (regardless of how good they’ve gotten) put up 30 (or 20, honestly) points on their own, and either of these defenses can and will capitalize on any opportunity that the opposing offense gives them. If we don’t give them those chances, we win this game.
I look forward to checking back in soon, but if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna refresh MASN Sports for a couple hours to see if Mark Teixeira has come to his senses yet.