The Ravens will march into Heinz Field on Monday Night with a confident swagger and a sense of purpose. After being embarrassed on national television the last time they made the trek to Pittsburgh, the 2-0 Ravens will definitely have something to prove against the banged-up Steelers.
The Steelers will be without Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker and disruptive nose tackle Casey Hampton. An important injury that is being overlooked here is the injury to Brett Keisel, Pittsburgh’s starting defensive end, who will also be out for Monday’s game.
The Steelers run a base 3-4 defense, and the absence of a big, run-stuffing, veteran nose tackle, could throw their defensive scheme off a bit. In the 3-4, the nose tackle is probably the most important position on the field.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line gave up eight sacks against the Eagles. If they thought blocking the Eagles was tough, I can’t wait to see what happens when Rex Ryan unleashes the hounds on an injured Ben Roethlisberger.
Over the last few weeks, the Steelers starting QB has battled a hyper-extended knee, a partially separated right shoulder, and an undisclosed injury to his hand that forced him to leave the game against Philly.
On the season, Big Ben has already been sacked 12 times and hit too many times to count.
The Ravens are licking their chops.
To me, it seems like things are setting up perfectly for the Ravens to shock the football world and start 3-0.
The defense gets to play against an offensive line that has been struggling to stop anyone from entering the backfield.
The offense has the luxury of not having to worry about Casey Hampton disrupting the running game or collapsing the pocket on our rookie QB. And with the way our offensive line has been punishing opponents, I think they can handle taking on a couple of back-ups. I see visions of Ben Grubbs and Jason Brown putting James Farrior on his backside on running plays.
On special teams, the Ravens get the electric Yamon Figurs back from his hamstring injury.
Maybe I’m still a little buzzed from all of that purple kool aid…that stuff is definitely spiked and we’ve all had a few too many rounds. This city is punch-drunk over the Ravens, and we should be. We’ve already doubled our division wins from last year!
I think the Ravens march up to Pittsburgh and take care of business in a very low scoring contest. It’ll be a VERY fun trip for all of those taking the WNST bus up to the armpit of America.
Ravens – 13 Steelers – 10
Ravens front 7 vs. the Steelers offensive line. If the Ravens can disrupt the Steelers offense like the Eagles did…watch out, Big Ben.
Where it could all go wrong:
The obvious answer here: turnovers. Our offense MUST protect the football. Flacco can’t throw two picks against the Steelers and expect to come out of there with a win. Also, if the Steelers offensive line can somehow get their act together and we don’t pressure Roethlisberger, it’s going to be a long day for the purple faithful.
But I’m confident. The more physical team will win the game and I think the more physical team right now is the Ravens.
What are your predictions?