Ravens vs. Steelers – Three Keys to the Game

September 29, 2008 |

The Pittsburgh/Baltimore match-up is always exciting. Even though we’ve been on the bad end of some horrendous thumpings, I always look back on those days and remember how much fun I had before the game; the build-up, the predictions, the water-cooler talk, and most importantly, the civic camaraderie.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. For example, every Ravens fan I’ve seen wearing a jersey at Towson University today has either given me a nod or a high five. I’ve seen about 40 Ravens jerseys so far and only knew one of those people personally.

I’d be willing to bet that some of you who are reading this are wearing a Ravens jersey in a library, or wearing your underwear inside out, or sporting a Ravens t-shirt underneath your suit and tie. The build-up to these games are almost as fun as watching the games themselves, especially when we have so many reasons to be excited for Ravens football.

So, no matter what happens tonight, enjoy today. And with some physical football and a little luck, we’ll be able to enjoy tomorrow too.

I’ve blogged a little bit about this in the past week, but here are my three keys to the game tonight. If you’d like to add to them, drop me a comment.

The Ravens MUST win the turnover battle. Joe Flacco can’t throw two picks and expect to walk out of there with a win tonight. I’d be willing to wager that if he has to throw more than 22 times tonight the Ravens will lose.

Be more physical. The more physical team always wins this game. I’d like to see them come out with that big package early and start punching the Steelers in the mouth from jump street. On defense, hitting Big Ben early and often is imperative. He’s already banged up and if we can knock him out of the game I really like our chances.

Make Pittsburgh one-dimensional. Even with an injured secondary, it’s going to be important to make the Steelers abandon the run. Even if they keep two tight ends in to block, I like our chances to penetrate the Steelers offensive line. Rashard Mendenhall hasn’t even proven he can hold onto the football much less block against a furious pass rush. If the Ravens can shut down the run early and force Tomlin to abandon the ground attack, we might have this game wrapped up by the 3rd quarter.

Something tells me both Flacco and Roethlisberger are going to spend a lot of time in the ice bath tomorrow. If the Ravens can protect Flacco better than the Steelers protect Big Ben, the Ravens will win.

Check back tonight when the game ends for my post-game blog. And tomorrow, we’ll continue our weekly segment of “You Play The Coach” where you get the opportunity to give out a game ball.