Let me get all of the “facts” out there first, so there’s no whining and complaining from Steelers fans in the comments section below.
I have always been a fan of Ben Roethlisberger. Despite the fact that he plays for the Steelers, I’ve always been able to separate that from what kind of player he’s been since showing up in 2004. I would take him on my team any day. Much, much respect…
Now, I get to put on the other hat and offer some insight into what you’re going to see this Sunday night in Pittsburgh with Byron Leftwich at the helm instead of Roethlisberger.
That’s what you’re going to see at Heinz Field on Sunday night. The Ravens will pummel Pittsburgh and assume complete control of the AFC North with somewhere around a 27-10 walk-in-the-park.
Pittsburgh can’t win without Roethlisberger, in the same way the Ravens can’t win without Flacco.
It’s a shame Big Ben won’t play on Sunday. Then again, it’s not a shame at all.
Yes, I am.
If we needed one game to settle our collective nerves about the Ravens and their on-again/off-again play on the road, this Sunday night was that game. Had Baltimore gone into Heinz Field and disposed of Ben and Company 23-20 to flex their AFC muscles on the road, we’d all be able to say, “Finally…a truly good road performance against a high-caliber opponent.”
Instead, we’re going to see the Ravens clobber an undermanned Steelers team and be left to wonder, “What happens when we play a really good team in their stadium?” The only team we’ve faced like that so far this year would be the Houston Texans and, well, never mind…
That said — I’ll take a Ravens win in Pittsburgh on Sunday no matter who plays for the Steelers.
Injuries are part of the game. I say this often. It’s not always the best team who works their way through the playoffs in January. It’s usually the healthiest team.
The key for the Ravens from here to the regular season finish is simple: Claim either the #1 or the #2 seed in the AFC. Right now, at 7-2, Baltimore is in control of their own fate, but two triumphs over Pittsburgh would virtually clinch the one or two seed barring some other unforseen collapse in December.
Two triumphs over Pittsburgh are expected – meaning, SHOULD happen – if Roethlisberger isn’t behind center for the two Ravens-Steelers gamse.
And those two wins will help Baltimore secure home field in the post-season, which the Ravens desperately need if they want to go to New Orleans in February.
And I’m all for that…