Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
The feature matchup in tonight’s NFL Wildcard Weekend is the third meeting of the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. The first meeting was way back in week two where the Ravens hosted and beat down the Steelers 26-6. The Ravens stingy defense shut down the eventual record breaking Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell to only 59 yards. Later in the 2014 season Le’Veon Bell would have three consecutive games with over 200 yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving).
In week 9 the two teams battled only this time in Pittsburgh and Steelers’ Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, had a career day with six, count ’em, six touchdown passes. The Steelers returned the favor and also won by 20 points, adding to the most heated rivalry in the NFL now that Jim Harbaugh has left the San Francisco 49ers.
Tonight’s matchup will not include all world running back Le’Veon Bell for the Pittsburgh Steelers who is out on a controversial hit received in last week’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. That hit irked Pittsburgh Steeler’s coach Mike Tomlin to the point of approaching Bengal’s Reggie Nelson. As I type this, less than two hours to game time, I’ve discovered two things:
- The Baltimore Ravens have never won a playoff game in Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback, Big Ben, has an upset stomach and hasn’t warmed up yet
A less than 100% Ben Roethlisberger and no Le’Veon Bell combined with never winning in Pittsburgh makes for the second road team to win in today’s playoffs.
I think this is a shootout of a game more than a bruising battle with Raven’s quarterback, Joe Flacco engineering a game winning drive in the final few minutes for the win.
My Pick: Baltimore Ravens: 35 Pittsburgh Steelers: 31