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Pro Sports Wrap - Athlete of the Day:Trevor Hoffman

2011 Breakdown: AFC Divisional Ravens and Steelers

January 13th 2011 15:59
This is one of the NFL's biggest rivalries. It is the two big and tough teams in the AFC North. It features two of the best NFL franchises in history. The Steelers' run defense should be able to stuff up Ray Rice, but Willis McGahee knows how to beat Pitt's run D. He is a grind it out tough guy that always fights for yards. He is a true warrior that gets lost in the shuffle of star running backs. He plays tough, and that's exactly what you need to do to have success against the Steelers.

What separates the Ravens from their rivals is their blocking. The injury of Justin Gaither hurts them, but the Ravens have one of the best interiors in the NFL. Ben Grubbs and Matt Birk are two of the best offensive linemen in the league. Joe Flacco needs to send Anquan Boldin out. They can utilize the Steelers' biggest weakness; their pass defense. They get burned. Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, and the others don't play well against big deep threats like Boldin and Derrick Mason.

Lawrence Timmons should be able to calm down Todd Heap. The Steelers will show off the best linebackers in the league in this game. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley will endlessly rush the passer, so it is vital for Flacco to make a big play to keep the blitzing honest. He needs to make the Steelers know that he can throw it deep on them. Flacco has a big arm, and he needs to use it in this game. Flacco knows how to win football games more than anything else, so I think he should be able to get the job done.

Chris Kemoeatu and Maurkice Pouncey make up a solid interior that won't let up against Kelly Gregg. However, the movement of Haloti Ngata before the snap and Ngata's sheer athleticism make it a difficult matchup for the Steelers to cope with. The Steelers' tackles are really poor, and they don't look up to the task of facing Terrell Suggs. He should hurry Big Ben and make life tougher for Rashard Mendenhall.

Roethlisberger and Mendenhall won't be overwhelmed by Suggs. Mendenhall won't have too much success running against Jarrett Johnson, Gregg, Suggs, and Ngata. However, Roethlisberger should be able to make that one big throw to Mike Wallace. I don't know if Big Ben quite has the weapons he would like against DaWan Landry, Ed Reed, and Josh Wilson. In a gritty game like this one, a big play by Wallace changes the whole tempo.

This game is extremely tough to predict. The Steelers usually beat the Ravens, but the Ravens did beat the Steelers in their most recent meeting. It is an extremely tough affair picking this game; as usual. Both teams always make a tough and entertaining game. In a game of defenses, I am going with the team that is the most complete team with the least liabilities.

Therefore, I am taking the Ravens. The Ravens beat them twice this season, three is a charm. People always say it is tough to beat a team three times in one season. Why? You beat them twice before. I never care about the score, so I will choose the scoreline that happened in the first meeting between these two teams that happened in Week 4.

Prediction: 17 Ravens 14 Steelers MVP: Terrell Suggs
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3 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Gabe Lock

January 13th 2011 20:51
Should be a great game. I would say it is the hardest to predict out of the four matchups this weekend. Good job.

Comment by nbageek

January 14th 2011 00:12
The Ravens won in week 3, the Steelers won their last meeting. I figure another close game with Pittsburgh winning, Roethlisberger is 6-0 in his last six games versus the Ravens.

Comment by James Rickard

January 14th 2011 10:18
I'm going to make and extra point to see what should be another close, physical game between these two. Because these contests are always so physical, I have to give the nod to Pittsburgh since they are playing after resting and the Ravens have the aches and pains of playing last week--AND the Ravens are playing on a short week. Despite all this, I'm pulling for the Ravens!

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