It’s time for our weekly segment of Buy or Sell brought to you by Glen Burnie Motorsports. Each week, we pick three topics and let you know if we’re agreeing (buying) or disagreeing (selling) with the statement. Then, you vote and tell us what you think.
The Ravens will finally get the running game going
The Ravens’ inability to run the ball has been the talk of the town for the entire season. They currently sit 27th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (72.7), but they are 31st in yards per carry (2.7), ahead of only lowly Jacksonville. There is no one culprit – throw in Juan Castillo’s zone-blocking schemes failing, and sub-par performances from several offensive linemen and both running backs, and this is what you get – so there is obviously no easy fix.
However, Pittsburgh’s defense has been far from their usual selves against the run, allowing 114.8 yards per game (22nd) and 3.9 yards per carry. So will Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce get it going in Steeltown?
SELL: Not only am I not convinced that the Ravens will have success on the ground against the Steelers, I’m of the mind that they shouldn’t continue beating their heads against the wall trying to run. Let Joe Flacco get the ball rolling with some short passes on first and second down, and use that to set up the run later on. This one-yard and a cloud of dust stuff has to stop, and I’m afraid that if the Ravens come out and try to pound it up in the middle on first and second down once again, we’ll see a repeat of last week’s first half.
The Final Score will be 23-20
When the Ravens and Steelers met in Pittsburgh last year, the Ravens came out on top in a 13-10 game. In Baltimore, the teams lit up the scoreboard a bit more, as the Steelers squeaked out the 23-20 win. In 2011, the Ravens won by scores of 35-7 and…23-20.
In the Harbaugh/Flacco era, one of the contests between these two squads has ended with that exact score – 23-20 – in every year except 2010. Four of the last ten regular season Ravens/Steelers games have ended 23-20 (2012 in Baltimore, 2011 in Pittsburgh, 2009 in Baltimore, 2008 in Pittsburgh).
So will that be the score when the clock strikes zero yet again?
SELL: The way both of these teams are playing right now (the Ravens are 18th in points per game, Pittsburgh 27th), I can’t see them eclipsing 20. I think we’ll see a score more like those that we saw during the 2010 regular season: 17-14 or 13-10.
(Of course, this probably means we’re in for one of the highest-scoring Ravens/Steelers games in memory.)
Ravens/Steelers is still one of the NFL’s best rivalries
Many in Baltimore have remarked that this week hasn’t felt like a typical Ravens/Steelers week. Our Ravens are struggling to find an identity, and the Steelers just got their first win of the season last week against the Jets. As our resident football historian Kurt Backert points out, this is the first time since Week 7 of the 2002 season that these two have met with neither possessing a winning record.
Many Pittsburgh fans seem to have went straight from the euphoria of seeing their Pirates in the playoffs for the first time since 1992 straight to talking about the NHL’s Penguins, ignoring the middling football team in town.
Add to that the fact that a lot of the faces that defined this rivalry over the years – Ray Lewis, Hines Ward, Ed Reed, Jerome Bettis – are gone.
Here’s how far the rivalry has fallen in the eyes of some: over at Deadspin, Drew Magary rates the games every week in his Thursday column “The Jamboroo.”
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
This week’s Baltimore/Pittsburgh tilt rated a measly ONE throwgasm in Drew’s book. Other games rated as a one on the scale: Chargers at Jaguars, Bucs at Falcons, Vikings at Giants. That’s where Ravens/Steelers ranks in the eyes of many general NFL fans this year – right alongside Vikings (1-4) at Giants (0-6).
So is Ravens/Steelers still a marquee NFL rivalry?
BUY: I think based on pure hatred between the two teams and fanbases, it absolutely is. Ravens and Steelers fans still live amongst one another between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. There is no better day for bragging rights than walking into your office past the desk of a Steelers fan, or waving to your neighbor with the yellow and gold flag hanging on his porch, the day after the Ravens whoop them. And other players are carrying the torch of the rivalry – Terrell Suggs lets his distaste for Pittsburgh be known, and Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu are still there for Ravens fans to despise. Throw in Joe Flacco breaking the hearts of the rag-twirlers at the last minute in their house twice already in his young career, and the Ravens winning another Super Bowl, and Steelers fans have plenty to hate as well.
Buy/Sell is brought to you by Glen Burnie Motorsports. This hunting season starting, head to Glen Burnie Motorsports if you are looking to buy or sell your ATV. With hundreds of Yamaha products in stock, this is surely a place you’d want to visit. Call 855.253.5253, visit their website or Facebook page for more information. “Enjoy The Ride.”