It doesn’t get any bigger than it will tonight for the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams are 5-6 and barely on the outer edge of the playoff race. The winner will have the inside track for the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs and draw closer to the AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals. The loser will not be mathematically eliminated, but their path of resistance would become extremely difficult. As I always like to do, I’ll come up with a few possible scenarios of how this game could go down.
The Home Game Beat Down: This is a very unlikely scenario, but it’s happened before in this matchup. In the opening contest of the 2011 season the Ravens bludgeoned the Steelers 35-7. Of course that was coming off a heartbreaking gut punch of a playoff loss the previous year. I still say that’s the worst playoff loss in Ravens history, even more so than the 2011 AFC Championship drop-kick game. The fact of the matter is both teams are too close for either one to blow out the other.
The Walking Dead Game: I called for this game last week against the New York Jets, but perhaps I was four days too early on this one. For anyone who’s unfamiliar with this type of game you could use last Sunday night’s Denver Broncos–New England Patriots game as an example. A team that’s seemingly dead rises up to become a dangerous walker. Speaking of the Walking Dead here are your odds on which main character will die in the mid-season finale. Tyrese 5-1, Sasha 5-1, Herschel 10-1, Beth 12-1, Maggie 12-1, Glen 15-1, Michone 20-1, Carl 30-1, Daryl 50-1, The Governor 50-1, Rick 100-1. Those odds are not official.
Back to football. I see this game as just another classic Ravens-Steelers game with hard hitting, pushing, shoving, neither team having a lead of more than seven, and every big play and turnover being magnified ten times over. So someone please tell Joe Flacco to have eyes in the back of his head because I’m sick of seeing the killer strip sack fumble every year in this game. The last four games in this series have been decided by three points, so there’s no reason to think that will change this team with both teams being even.
Ravens 23-Steelers 20
Read more from Dan Abeshouse here