Monday, September 29, 2008

Ravens @ Steelers: My crystal ball says...

I found it interesting that the author of Ravens’ gloom and doom for many years, The Sun’s Mike Preston, predicts a 13-10 Ravens victory tonight in Pittsburgh. Of the seven Sun writers polled, only two are picking the Ravens, the other being Edward Lee.

Among the naysayers is respected beat writer Jamison Hensley. Interestingly, Hensley predicted a score of 13-10 in Friday’s edition of The Sun saying that a critical turnover would be the difference in a classic defensive battle. Yet this morning in his scouting report, Hensley writes that a Ravens’ loss “will be a painful reminder of last season” and offers the final score prediction of 20-6, Steelers.

Let’s hope that Joe Flacco isn’t so indecisive tonight.

But since Hensley went “out on a limb” twice (maybe we’ll get a third score before kickoff), I’ll put it out there with the understanding that any prediction is clearly open to heavy criticism. So here goes...

It’s an overused yet highly appropriate cliché when predicting games in the NFL that they are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. The Steelers are missing two key players on their defensive line (Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel) while the Ravens offensive line has played extremely well and they are riding a wave of momentum.

On the other side of the ball, the Steelers' offensive line has struggled, not just this season but also towards the end of last season. The O-Line is now pointing the finger at Ben Roethlisberger claiming he holds on to the ball too long and that’s why the sack totals are so staggering. The Steelers LT Willie Colon has said that his unit communicated poorly and that led to many breakdowns in protection schemes. The Led Zeppelin song and the confusion will probably continue against the Ravens and their many looks and exotic blitz packages.

The Steelers entire game plan and the most compelling reason to pick the Steelers is the inexperience of Joe Flacco under the bright road city lights – lights that illuminate even more on the stage of Monday Night Football.

Ever get a chance to prove someone wrong in your career? Maybe you were passed over for a promotion losing out to someone less capable? It certainly inspires you to focus and tighten down on the screws now doesn’t it? Tonight, Joe Flacco gets his chance to do that on a field upon which he never got a chance to start. He won’t be spectacular but he’ll do just enough to enable his teammates to beat the Steelers in a nail biter. Ravens 17, Steelers 16


Anonymous said...

Coming out of training camp, I considered the Ravens to be a 4-12 team. Having seen the marked improvement along the O-line, and the steadily improving play of Joe Flacco, I now consider the Ravens to be a 7-9 team, +/-.

I think the key to tonight's game is the absence of Samari Rolle, and whoever replaces him. I'd like to see either Washington or Martin replace Rolle, but my gut tells me Ryan is going to use a combo of Walker and Ivy. I think that'd be a mistake; and enough of a mistake to end up costing us the game. But if the right moves are made at CB, I see the Ravens winning a tough game against a division rival, and exiting that $hithole they call a stadium with a 3-0 W/L record.

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 sept 29th 4:30 pm

Tony.. .I'm looking for a close GAME tonite.. Lets HOPE that STOVER can OUT KICK the Steelers kicker.
WE need for Ray and ED reed to really step up. We need for Suggs to push Big Ben out into the RIVER behind the Field.
... Until I'm proven wrong.. I think the Ravens can win up there.. I just checked the Weather..No rain in sight..
.. from Downtown Sykesville.. GAME ON