A Look at Ravens v. Steelers Photo Credit: Patrick Smith, Getty Images

Street Talk A Look at Ravens v. Steelers

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Perception is Realty

Reality: The Ravens bye week allowed a number of players to get healthy.

Perception: Baltimore’s offensive line has struggled this season, and if they want to win Sunday, they will need a healthy OL… and they just might get it. With Marshal Yanda and Ronnie Stanley expected back, it should drastically help keep Joe Flacco upright.

If the Ravens also get back Terrell Suggs, Lardarius Webb and Tavon Young at full strength, that will give another boost to a defense that has struggled to stay healthy. Although Elvis Dumervil most likely won’t play, the Ravens need to get as many of their best players as they can on the field to try to take down Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.

Reality: If the Ravens defeat Pittsburgh Sunday, they will be in 1st place in the AFC North.

Perception: Usually, the AFC North is considered one of the best divisions in football with three teams that fight for the AFC playoffs each year. But this year, it’s a struggling division. After Sunday, the 1st place team could be 4-4, and right now the cumulative record of Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh is 10-19-1… that is not good.

That can only help the Ravens as they strive for the playoffs because at this point, 10-6 could be enough to win the division, maybe even 9-7. Baltimore fans, don’t give up hope yet. Sunday is a big game.

Reality: The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the all-time series against the Ravens 24-20.

Perception: Any Ravens fan knows all about this series. For the longest time, it was the best rivalry in football, and arguably the best in sports. It maybe not have that same intensity any more, since the retirement of so many key players, but it’s still a heated matchup.

The Ravens have won the last two games in this series and four of the last five. It doesn’t matter where the game is or who is on the field, these games are almost always close. Seven of the last 10 games between the two have been decided by one score or less.Ravens v. Steelers

This year, the Steelers won 4 of their first 5 games and averaged 34 points a game during that span. But since then, they have lost 2 in a row, both without their star QB, and their defense is not living up to their normal standard.

Overall, the Steelers are 8th in offensive yards per game, while the Ravens are 6th in yards per game defensively.

Baltimore is 18th in offensive yards per game, while Pittsburgh is 27th defensively in yards given up per game.

For as bad as the Ravens have played this season, when you look at the stats, they aren’t that bad. So, if they can get their key guys healthy enough to play and not commit so many penalties, the Ravens have a real shot to not only win this game, but also take over 1st place in the AFC North and keep it for the next few weeks.

But with that said, I have predicted a Ravens win every week so far, and that hasn’t worked out well. So…

Steelers win 24-21.

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Joe Polek

About Joe Polek

Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. He lived in Maine from 2001-2012, where he met his wife and had two daughters. He now resides in Columbia, SC where he has left TV/Radio and is the South Carolina Marketing Coordinator for Bojangles’ Restaurants. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens and Orioles game once a year. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak).

Find Joe on Twitter @JoePolek.

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