At the start of this season, no one expected the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens to square off twice and not have Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger play in either game. That expectation has been proven false with the news of Roethlisberger being ruled out for the Week 13 battle against the Ravens.
Roethlisberger missed the first game due to injuries to his shoulder and ribs. The healing process of these injuries hasn’t progressed as expected and is the reasons why Big Ben will be sidelined for the third week in a row.
This leaves Pittsburgh the option of putting third-string quarterback Charlie Batch in as the starter on the road. The soon-to-be 38-year-old quarterback could possibly be starting his last game in his career. Furthermore, this could be the biggest start in his 15 years in the league.
A loss will give the Steelers their third straight divisional defeat and could possibly put them out of the final playoff spot in the AFC. Furthermore, a victory for the Ravens will improve their AFC North record to 5-0 and will put them one step closer to another division title.
Batch will have to quickly shake off last week’s three-interception performance. This sounds easier said than done, considering the fact that he has to play behind an iffy Steelers offensive line that’s shuffling around linemen due to injuries.
There is a possibility that center Maurkice Pouncey will move to left guard while Doug Legursky will start at center. On the right side of the offensive line, rookie David DeCastro could possibly play at right guard, which would put Ramon Foster at right tackle. There is also a possibility that Foster could play right guard and rookie Kelvin Beachum could start at right tackle.
Along with the uncertainty of the offensive line, Batch will have the challenge of playing in a hostile environment in the most heated rivalry in the league. To ease some of the pressure that Batch will endure, Pittsburgh will get wide receiver Antonio Brown added back to the lineup. Hopefully his presence will help the Steelers’ passing game.
The future of the Steelers’ postseason will be dictated by the play of Batch versus the Ravens. This game could be considered a playoff game for Pittsburgh and could be seen as the closest Batch will ever get to starting in a game with a playoff atmosphere. Leading the Steelers to a win will not only keep their postseason hopes alive, but also will be a good way to end the career of a player who grew up in the Pittsburgh area.
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