It’s time to look in the mirror and ask …. “are we guzzling the purple kool-aid?”

January 13, 2011 |

Through the course of nearly every week during the NFL season, my optimism regarding the Ravens chances against their next opponent seems to increase to an overflow by the weekend.

It’s fairly predictable – I start out by dissecting the Ravens mistakes from the most recent game, but I always convince myself those same problems and shortcomings are fixed a mere seven days later.

That said, if their respective regular season matchups are against one of the NFL powerhouses, I make every effort to be rational about the likelihood of beating such a team – ESPECIALLY if it’s a road game.

As we sit just two days away from the latest date with the Steelers, I’m trying to find the same confidence that usually starts to “overflow” by now …..

I’m definitely hearing and reading very optimistic opinions by nearly all of Baltimore’s football fans. And, most media members are chiming in with positive predictions, as well.

Yet, the optimism and confidence seems to be primarily buoyed by intangible factors that we can’t really reach out and touch. It seems like we’re collectively grasping for those emotional qualities that lead underdogs through the most magical moments.

“It’s our time”

“They will find a way”

“Baltimore’s fans need and deserve this”

“This upcoming game just has a special feel to it”

We’ve all heard and even uttered some of these very phrases, right? I’m absolutely guilty of talking myself into a WIN, by reasoning that Pittsburgh and the Steelers/Pirates domination over this city and its teams must end, eventually.

But, if we’re going to have a sobering moment of reality with ourselves, we must honestly consider the actual circumstances and the strengths/weaknesses of both teams in this upcoming game. For me, it’s not a very positive picture …..

The Steelers are more rested and fresher than the Ravens.

The Steelers have the advantage of playing at home, with THEIR twelfth man as the primary background.

The Steelers have the better quarterback.

Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger talks to Baltimore Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco after the Steelers defeated the Ravens 13-10 at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on December 5, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

The Steelers have a better linebacker corps.

The Steelers have more effective blitzing schemes.

I can even make an argument for the Steelers secondary, especially if Polamalu is healthier than we’ve observed over the past month. But, that’s more of an unknown heading into this game.

You see my point, right? If I’m being totally honest with myself, I must concede the Steelers appear to be the better team, right now. And, they have the relied conveniences of being less fatigued and playing in front of their fans.

But, the best team doesn’t always win. In fact, the rested team that plays on the home turf doesn’t always win, either. In the past ten seasons, this divisional round of the playoffs has yielded a fair amount of road winners, with this breakdown …..

Home team victories – 26

Road team victories – 14

Hey, I’m looking for any potential indicator of a Ravens upset in this game. In truth, I’ll continue to latch onto all of the emotional possibilities for extinguishing Pittsburgh’s reign over this town, because it just feels right to do so.

I’m an admitted karma and odds guy – especially as it relates to good things happening for us.

So, as I’m peering into my mirror, I’m seeing a guy who feels fortunate to have a “horse in the NFL’s race toward the Super Bowl.” Our stake in the race might end on Saturday, and I accept such a reality.

But, I still believe in destiny …. and, I’ll continue to believe it’s OUR time, regardless of anything else.

God knows the guy in the mirror has been wrong before.