Familiarity breeds contempt, especially between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. In week 13, the divisional rivals will play each other for the second time in three weeks. When the Ravens came to Heinz Field in week 11 the Steelers put forth a valiant effort, but ultimately, could not come out on top. In the following week, the Steelers played one their most pitiful games of the season against Cleveland. In the meantime, Baltimore was busy staging an overtime comeback in San Diego. Going into this week’s match-up, it looks like the Steelers have plenty to prove.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will again be playing without the starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. He has been officially ruled out of week 13 thanks to shoulder and rib injuries. Starting in his place will be veteran Charlie Batch. In his first game of the season Batch was obviously rusty. Although the offensive line wasn’t giving him an incredible amount of the to throw the ball, he still missed a number of routine throws in addition to throwing three interceptions. Hopefully the Cleveland game allowed Batch to shake of both the nerves and the dust in preparation to play in Baltimore.
Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense will also be a key factor on Sunday. Joe Flacco completed 31-of-50 passes for 350 yards. The Steelers’ defensive front will need to bring nothing less than their A-game if they hope to keep Flacco under control.
The Steelers’ offense will also have to do their part against the Ravens whose defense has been looking a lot less tough without Ray Lewis. Baltimore has been vulnerable against the run this season, and the Steelers will have to exploit that. They hope to do this by starting Jonathan Dwyer at running back. So far, he has been the most consistent rusher for Pittsburgh, and consistency is exactly what the Steelers need.
Since losing two straight games to divisional opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in something of a precarious position. A wild card spot is looking pretty good right about now, but everything is still up in the air. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals are tied with a record on 6-5. Every game matters, especially from this point forward.