Guest Column: Steelers vs. Ravens Pre-Game Report(by JB in the Big Steel Apple)
We know the story. We�ve heard about Kris Brown�s nightmare game. We�ve heard all about the only blemish on the Steelers� home record. So why beat a dead horse and recap what already happened? Why tell the story of how Pittsburgh thoroughly out played the Ravens in every facet of the game except for one and how that one facet let to our ultimate defeat?
I won�t do that to you. I won�t bring back such unpleasant memories. I�d like to focus on the game at hand. For as much as the media will focus on what happened last game, we�ve got to be honest and realize that the last meeting between these two teams is history. But, that�s not to say we can�t learn a thing or two.
Now, Keys to the Game:
- The Steelers Offense vs. The Red Zone: First and foremost, the offense must score touchdowns. This game can be won with a field goal parade, but why not make it easier and score 7? Mark it down; if the Steelers score a touchdown on half of their red zone trips, they will win the game. Watch for the fade to Burress in the end zone.
- Jerome Bettis vs. The Ravens Front 7: He will play, but we don�t know how effective he�ll actually be. I expect to see the Bus get hit hard and often when he has the ball. It will be important for him to not let go of the ball when the pain gets intense. The last time these two teams played, the Ravens consistently tried to rip the ball out of his hands as he was tackled.
- Ward and Burress vs. Starks and McAlister: This will be a fierce match-up that I think the WB connection can win the battle. Burress really needs to limit his drops this week. If he gets deep, he�s got to hang onto the ball.
- Earl Holmes and Lee Flowers vs. Shannon Sharpe: "The Mouth" is just another in a long line of TE�s that have burnt Holmes and Flowers. You know every time I�ve seen a TE beat these two this year, it seems to have been in the end zone. They�ve looked confused about who has the coverage. These guys have to work out the communication or Sharpe will have a huge day.
Thoughts to keep in mind while going to the fridge for a beer:
* Last Week�s "Missed Prime Opportunity" score: Pittsburgh 3 N.Y. Jets 6
Note: Team gains a point with each "prime opportunity" they miss.
*-- A "Missed Prime Opportunity" is one in when a team fails to score while in scoring range or doesn�t take advantage of major swings in momentum (i.e. major penalties/turnovers/settling for field goals in successive series/inability to seal a game with first downs). These are killer because a team only gets so many. A great example is the Giants vs. Eagles on Monday night this year. Although thoroughly ass whipping the Eagles in every category, the Giants inability to capitalize on Prime Opportunities causes the Eagles to take the lead with less than 2 minutes left. This gave the Giants at least 4 MPO�s in the first half. Those MPO�s came back to haunt the Giants. The Eagles cause Kerry Collins (The most overrated QB in the NFL) to fumble leading to an improbable Eagles victory in New York.
I love the Steelers, but I�ve got to be a realist about this one. The touchdowns will become more regular on offense, but not this week. In the end Pittsburgh still win the division and have home field throughout the playoffs but�
Ravens 17 Steelers 13
Written by JB IN THE BIG STEEL APPLE