1. Still a rivalry- The Steelers may be on the downfall for the first time in a while, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly. They are only two games behind the Ravens right now in the division stands, despite only winning one game. And let us not forget that this has been the best rivalry in all of Football for the past ten years. These teams do not like each other and the fact that they have met in the playoffs twice in the last six years hasn’t lightened the mood between the teams either. There is plenty of respect, but also plenty of hate. It is unfortunate that neither of these teams have winning records, but I expect this game to resemble a classic Ravens and Steelers game. The Ravens can’t afford to take this game lightly because this is a division game, and with a close race, these games will matter the most. It is time for the Ravens to send a message to the rest of the division.
2. Bad offensive lines- This weeks matchup features two struggling offensive lines, so it could be a long day for both quarterbacks. Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger have both taken more than their fair share of a beating this season, and don’t expect this Sunday to be any different. The Ravens pass rush has been stellar this season and they should have another successful day this weekend. It also helps that Roethlisberger isn’t the same as he once was when he could break tackles easily and extend plays. He looks like he has slowed down a lot, which should help this defense that has often had trouble containing the Steelers quarterback in the past.
3. Locating Polamalu- Like Roethlisberger, Steelers safety Troy Polamalu has slowed down a bit as he has gotten older. The future Hall of Famer still can make plenty of plays though, and he will need to be located before every snap. Too many times in the past has Polamalu made big plays, in big moments against the Ravens and broken so many fans hearts. Flacco has learned his lesson from the past, but Polamalu can still be a game changer, and will have to be accounted for. If not, he could be adding to his highlight reel.
4. Offense will have to score- The Steelers defense has always been able to slow down Flacco and company, but that was when they had a strong offense to complement them. Pittsburgh is only averaging 17.6 points per game, so the Ravens offense will have to score at least 20 points to do their job. Baltimore’s defense should matchup well against this weakened Steelers offense, but the Ravens offense will need to find ways to score. Otherwise, they could be looking at a 3-4 record heading into their bye week.