Not that I need to tell anyone in Steeler nation, but ITS RAVENS WEEK!
What better way to welcome back the NFL season than with a Steelers Ravens matchup in the first week of the year? Hines Ward said the league obviously knew what it was doing when this game was scheduled, but I don’t know if my heart is ready to get this amped up so early in the year.
The good thing about this game, is it will set the tone quickly for the beginning stages of the season. It would be too obvious for me to say that this game means a lot for both teams, but I think this edition of the AFC North brawl has a greater importance for the Ravens than it does for the black and gold.
Let’s face it; the Steelers have had the Ravens number over the last few seasons. Since 2001 the Steelers are 14-9 against the Ravens including a 3-0 mark in the playoffs, and in the last eight games between the two teams, the Steelers are 6-2. The Steelers have also ended the Ravens season twice in the last three years, so it seems as though the Ravens have some work to do to even out the series between the two teams. If we want to continue to call this meeting the best rivalry in football, the Ravens know they have to hold up its end of the bargain a little more.
With all that being said, the Ravens still expect to get a win at home to start the season. If the Steelers were to lose this week, it would not mark the end of the year for the black and gold, in fact that would be way too dramatic to even think of. But I propose that if the Steelers come out and beat on the Ravens in M&T Back Stadium this weekend, it will be devastating for the Ravens for the rest of the year.
It has been the Ravens talking the most junk this offseason, and while the Steelers have not been shy to respond to some of the Raven’s antics, it would be a tough pill to swallow if the Ravens could not back up all the talk. In the past nine meetings between the two teams, only one game has been decided by more than a touchdown, and I don’t see this week’s matchup being any different. I have gone on record saying I believe the Ravens will finish behind the Browns for third place in the AFC North this year, but the Ravens will certainly come out to play this first week.
In under a week…..I can’t believe it’s that close……the two teams will lace it up and decide on the field who will take early control of the AFC North. I will give my predictions for the game later this week, but until then Steeler Nation, just get prepared for war this weekend.