These teams played each other in the postseason in the 2008 AFC Championship Game. Pittsburgh won 23-14.
The Steelers have won five of the last seven meetings.
Ravens Rush Offense vs. Steelers Rush Defense
Bal—114.4 (14th) vs. Pit—62.8 (1)
If you’re Baltimore, you’re targeting a 3-yard per carry average per carry against the best run defense not only this year, but the past decade.
Rice is most dangerous in the passing game, with 556 receiving yards. The Steelers need to eliminate Rice in the passing game. Rice is very shifty in space. This is where Troy Polamalu‘s amazing open field attacking ability comes into play.
Ravens Pass Offense vs. Steelers Pass Defense
Bal—208.4 (20) vs. Pit—214.1 (12)
This is the where the game will be won in my opinion. Head coach John Harbaugh finally let his third-year quarterback loose. Joe Flacco threw the ball 35 times, completing 24 for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ravens use an underneath passing with tight end Todd Heap and wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley form the best pair of 3-4 outside linebackers. Left tackle Michael Oher and Right tackle Marshall Yanda need to play well against their pass rush.
Pit—120.2 (11) vs. Bal—93.9 (5)
Haloti Ngata, a 3-4 right defensive end, is unblockable in one-on-one matchups. The Ravens structure fronts in order to let Ngata get on an opposing blocker one-on one.
Just like I stated about, the Steelers are looking for 3-yards per carry against a tough defensive front.
Steelers Pass Offense vs. Ravens Pass Defense
Pit—225.1 (14) vs. Bal—224.9 (21)
The question here is can Pittsburgh get enough protection for Ben Roethlisberger. The Miami (OH) standout does avoid the rush well, but in the two meetings this year, Terrell Suggs and company were constantly in Pittsburgh’s backfield.
Mike Wallace is key in the wide receiver screen game. He has the ability to take any screen to the house by his ability to make people miss in space. He’s one of the top five fastest players in the NFL in my opinion.
Ravens’ Three X-Factors
- Joe Flacco
- Anquan Boldin
- Ed Reed
Steeler’s Three X-Factors
- Troy Polamalu
- Mike Wallace
- Ben Roethlisberger
PREDICTION: Ravens 20 Steelers 19
You know it’s going to be close, and it’s almost unfair to make a pick, but I like Baltimore quarterbacks Joe Flacco’s cool demeanor in the clutch, but Roethlisberger isn’t shabby himself.
Will either Polamalu or Reed make game-changing plays that they’re accustomed to doing?
Just to throw it out there, this will be the game where Joe Flacco becomes a star. This will be a franchise defining win if the Ravens can pull this one out.
About the Author
Written by Adrian Fedkiw
I currently work for the Sports Network. It's the best job ever! I am a 2010 graduate of Temple University where I majored in broadcast journalism, I LOVE SPORTS! That's why I am here. I have a vast knowledge and want to share my athletic intelligence with the world. Some people like to spend their time shooting down aliens in Halo; I like to spend my time watching sports, current and old. It's my passion! I got asked one time how I can watch a game over again when I already know the outcome. 5 minutes later, he's watching Happy Gilmore reciting all of the lines from the movie. Hypocrite! As for my favorite sports teams, I've been a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan. My favorite athlete is Allen Iverson. He didn't like practice that much, but when it came to gametime, no one let it all out on the floor like Iverson. He is absolutely beloved in the city of Brotherly Love. For college athletics, obviously I pay close attention to Temple. (Yes, football too) Even before I stepped foot on Temple's campus for the 1st time in 2005, I was a fan. Oh the good old days of John Chaney! Some other tidbits about myself, I love cheesesteaks, I hydrate myself with Welch's Grape Juice and Snapple. I love the HBO show Entourage. Also, when is Kenny Powers making his much anticipated return in Eastbound and Down!