It wasn’t painless and it wasn’t easy to watch, but one fact stands on its own—we won.
You can find the updated playoff picture and scenarios here that highlights a possibility of Pittsburgh winning being favorable to the Ravens. While it will be tough, it’s a week where rooting for Pittsburgh is the right thing to do.
With that said, here’s our weekly look Behind Enemy Lines—maybe the most important edition of the season.
Fact that Favors the Ravens: If there’s one thing that is making John Harbaugh and Co. smile, it’s the fact that their biggest rival will actually be playing to help Baltimore this week. The Bengals couldn’t have drawn a tougher opponent than the Steelers and here’s why:
With a few losses around the league, the Steelers are catapulted into a scenario where the possibility for taking the 6th seed isn’t out of the question. You have to believe that Mike Tomlin’s crew—one that nearly beat the Dolphins in their biggest game of the year—will be fighting hard on a national stage.
Reason the Ravens should be worried: After throwing an interception in nine of ten games (14 INTs in that stretch) Andy Dalton had his best game of the year against Indianapolis, throwing for 275 yards with three touchdowns.
There’s a possibility for a struggle this week however. He had an incredible game against the Jets earlier in the year when he threw for five touchdowns – all he did the next week was deliver a 55.4 QB Rating, throwing three interceptions against Miami.
He hasn’t exactly thrived against the Steelers in his short career, so his incredible game against Indianapolis could be followed by a struggle in Steel-Town.
Player to Watch: Gio Bernard
Stopping Bernard is the key. If you stop this kid, you win. It’s pretty simple.
Fact that Favors the Ravens: At 5-8, the chances of a Pittsburgh playoff birth are slim-to-none, but as previously stated, there’s always a chance for a miracle in today’s NFL.
The reason the Ravens – and the rest of the AFC – shouldn’t be worried about the Steelers is their poor attempt to stop the run. Once a vaunted front-7, the Steelers are currently ranked 24th in the league in rush defense. With Eddie Lacy and Gio Bernard coming up on the schedule, it could get very ugly. Dare we say—Chicago Bears run-D ugly?
Reason the Ravens should be worried: Love him or hate him, Big Ben will fight until the end.
He’s an easy target for jokes and criticism, but Roethlisberger has established himself as one of the league’s best passers. The Steelers are ranked 7th in the league through the air, even with the loss of Mike Wallace. Antonio Brown has been getting a massive amount of targets, and that shouldn’t change. Ben is going to air the ball out for the rest of the year, something that will keep Pittsburgh in this until the end.
Player to Watch: Troy Polamalu
It seems simple, and it is. Polamalu finds a way to make late-game plays. Now late in the season, it could be the veteran safety who lights up the highlight reel on Monday morning.
There isn’t much to say here except for the fact that this team really has NO CLUE what they are doing.
It’s nice that they almost beat the Patriots and all, except for one thing: they almost added another win to their record. What are they thinking?
I understand the whole “We try to win every game” garbage, but this team is walking dangerously close to the line that takes them out of contention for elite college draft prospects.
I guess that’s just the Cleveland Way… Here are a few headlines from the Factory of Sadness:
- Josh Gordon is rocking the NFL with another 100+ yard performance
- Cleveland will look to knock Chicago down in playoff contention next week…and lose another draft slot
- Quarterback controversy is just getting more difficult for Chudzinski
- After seeing what Bobby Rainey did this week, the Ravens aren’t the only team who wishes they would have kept the Western Kentucky alum
GAME OF THE WEEK: Bengals vs. Steelers
8:30 on NBC
(Disclaimer: Be prepared for a Collinsworth-Roethlisberger love-fest.)