Ah yes, it’s Ravens Week for the Steelers. It promises to be a slobber-knocker, a knock-down drag-out last-man-standing slug-o-rama! It’s a real first-team-to-9-wins hoedown! Yeah buddy. No knives or guns allowed though, somebody tell Ray Ray to leave his shiv in the locker room. All brass knuckles must be properly taped.
This is a game of significance. For the Ravens to entertain any hope of winning the AFC North division, they simply must have this game. Win it and they’re a tie-breaker away from the lead – they would need the Steelers to lose at least one more conference game either at Tennessee or hosting the team formerly known as The Fighting Quinns of Cleveland.
But if the Steelers hold serve then they all but guarantee another AFC North title for Pittsburgh. It’s a division they haven’t necessarily owned, but they’ve won it half the time since inception in 2002.
While both the Steelers and Giants have shown recently that a team can take to the road and still succeed in the Super Bowl, most prefer a week to heal before hosting playoff games.
Games between the Steelers and Ravens are always hyper-physical. I don’t recall the Ratbirds’ injury report following week four but the Steelers were down two running backs. Willie Parker is still running hurt and Rashard Mendenhall won’t play in another NFL game until 2009. But they’re all Big Boys and it’s games like these where they earn that green.
So put on your eye black, grab your bludgeon of choice and settle in for a brawl this Sunday afternoon, you won’t be disappointed.