PERCEPTION IS REALITY: Once Again it Comes Down to the Steelers

Flacco throw against Steelers 2012

Reality: The New England Patriots were down 24-0 at halftime and came back to defeat the Denver Broncos 34-31 in OT.

Perception: On the surface it appears the Broncos were dominant in the 1st half and the Patriots were dominant in the 2nd half. But that wasn’t totally the case. The amount of miscue’s goes to show that there are no truly “great teams” in the NFL. Even two of the teams with the best record play sloppy football and can be beaten. With the weather turning colder, you’ll see teams that had success earlier this year start to struggle. Cold weather teams usually find a way to beat warm weather teams and that has always played well for the Ravens.

Reality: Tyrod Taylor was 0 for 1 as a passer and that triggered a passer rating of 39.6. Geno Smith’s passer rating was 22.3.

Perception: That says more about Geno Smith than it does Tyrod Taylor. But Taylor is the talk of the town. Some love using Tyrod in the Wildcat, while others say you pay Joe Flacco $120 million to throw the football. For me, it’s more about how bad the running game is than using Tyrod to shake up the passing attack. But when the Ravens complete a long pass, why mess with whatever momentum you may have just gained by putting Taylor behind center. And they have no excuse with using the Wildcat in the Red Zone. I don’t mind using Taylor to mix things up a little, but I think that formation was used too much Sunday.

Reality: Joe Flacco was 17 for 26 for 273 yards and 1 touchdown. His QB Rating was 97.1, and he average 10.5 yards per attempt, which was his highest of the season.

Perception: As I said on Friday’s “Perception is Reality”, the Jets secondary was not great, so the Ravens offense was going to need to try to throw downfield more. My only question is why didn’t they try it even more? I know it was windy, but Flacco was still effective. Throw the ball deep! With Smith and Jones, this team has a much better chance than when you don’t throw it!

Reality: There are 6 teams in the AFC at 5-6. If the playoffs started today, the Titans would win all the tie-breakers to make the playoffs, while the Steelers and Ravens would be next, but left out.

Perception: I think the winner of Thursday night’s grudge match between the Steelers and Ravens win the 6th and final playoff spot in the AFC. The NFL is a quarterback league. You can’t win in the playoffs without a top-notch QB. There are 6 teams vying for the final playoff spot in the AFC right now, but only 3 of those teams have QBs that have won a playoff game. The Jets are pretenders. The Raiders are starting an undrafted rookie, who won’t make the playoffs. The Dolphins are hanging tough, but I don’t see them making the playoffs behind Ryan Tannehill. The Chargers got a big win yesterday, but let’s see if they can put a string of late-season wins together. The Titans have Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. He’s a very good backup, but relying on him to win you the big games down the stretch? I don’t see it. That leaves the Steelers and Ravens. A win Thursday night gives the Ravens the edge for the playoffs. But as always with the Steelers, it won’t be easy.

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About Joe Polek

Joe Polek
Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters....more

9 Raves on “PERCEPTION IS REALITY: Once Again it Comes Down to the Steelers

  1. joe d on said:

    Peyton can’t play in cold weather. He no longer has the arm strength to throw in adverse conditions such as 20 mph winds. With the Super bowl in NY this year I will guarantee everyone that he will not win it and in fact will probably not get that far.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      I agree Joe. For the moment, I’d have to give the edge to Seattle although they are vulnerable on the road and not sure they can handle the east coast winter conditions of the Meadowlands. That rules out, IMHO, the Saints as well as potential champs…probably the Colts too and the Chiefs are starting to look like a typical Andy Reid team…the Tamba Hali loss is huge. If the Ravens can get a ticket to the dance, you never know. But Flacco and the offense have to play better in the red zone than they did yesterday.

  2. Ravcolt on said:

    If you are going to use Tyrod Taylor please get Flacco off the field. Why provide an 11 on 10 advantage for the defense? Taylor can also pass, which increases his effectiveness, but I would like him in the red zone, without Flacco, to utilize his pass/run option talents more effectively. Scoring touchdowns and keeping the other team OUT of the end zone is the key to winning football, not offensive or defensive ratings.

  3. Joshua on said:

    This thing is still wide open. There simply isn’t that dominant team in the AFC this year. December will be critical for us to get back in it.

    • PG County Raven on said:

      Agree it’s wide open but we must win on Thursday in order to be part of the race in December. We’re in the playoffs already IMHO! Lose a game and it’s over: cancel Christmas and go fishing!

  4. Fernando on said:

    It’s a little of a stretch to say so right now, but the Bengals do play AT the Chargers, the Colts, AT the Steelers and the Ravens. This division is a lot more open than people think and I’m not that sure the Bengals will win it…

  5. Steve Webster on said:

    All of you need to put down the Kool Aid and back away. This team has absolutely zero shot of doing anything if they make the playoffs so please do not let a good defensive and fair offensive performance against a rookie qb lead team that plays horrible on the road convince you of otherwise. I am a huge Ravens homer and trust me when I tell you that every game this team wins between now and the end of this season does nothing but lower their draft picks in each round.

  6. Bmore Finest on said:

    Kool aid or not, it’s a playoff game on thanksgiving. The winner will be the one with the best chance to get in the dance. Getting Joe in playoffs, he could turn to superman. And if we dont lose another game this year, we be picking #32. That’s fine with me.

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