As we all now know, the Steelers will play tonight’s game here in Baltimore without their two best players, with the late subtraction of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joining safety Troy Polamalu in the black and gold infirmary.
It is not lost on any Ravens fan that tonight it’s clearly: advantage Baltimore.
Big Ben, as ‘yins from ‘donton affectionately call him, has been poison for anything in purple since he entered the league. He is the Ravens kryptonite. Polamalu’s interception of Joe Flacco in Pittsburgh last January must be considered the most heartbreaking play in the history of the franchise.
I don’t think I need to remind you that the Ravens are on a three-game losing streak to our friendly neighbors from the northwest.
Or that this is their first appearance on Baltimore turf since hoisting a second Lombardi Trophy to the Tampa skies last Febuary.
Or that, at 5-5, a loss to the Steelers tonight will effectively end the Ravens season.
I hate the Steelers. You hate the Steelers.
Let’s hope that attitude — and a few first downs and quarterback pressures along with some goofy white towels we’ll all be waving — are enough to keep the Ravens season alive tonight.
I get the feeling we’ll be feeling the loss of Fabian Washington more than we realize — just like when Chris McAlister went away two years ago — but there are no excuses for a Ravens loss tonight.
We can’t cry about Terrell Suggs not suiting up (of course, John Harbaugh has played the cat and mouse injury report game all week with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.)
Flacco needs to be crisp and sharp. Billy Cundiff can’t miss field goals. Matt Katula needs to snap straight. The offensive line can’t create pre-snap penalties. The defensive front seven must make Dennis Dixon run for his life like the rookie quarterback he is tonight.
The game is on national television. It can’t be a coming out party for some guy from Oregon we’ve never heard of.
The only thing worse than losing to the Steelers at home to effectively end our season with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving would be the thought that it happened at the hands of some guy named Dennis Dixon putting on a black and gold cape.
A disturbing thought.
Let’s hope we don’t go there…
The Ravens must win tonight.
My updated prediction: Ravens 34, Steelers 9