This Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens renew what is probably the best (and fiercest) rivalry in the NFL. The two teams will meet at M&T Stadium in Baltimore.
It’s probably unfair to say that the Steelers “own” the Ravens……..but they’re certainly leasing them. And that should remain the case on Sunday.
Some Steelers fans will disagree with that sentiment. And I’m sure that ALL Baltimore fans will take exception to the comment. But it’s true nonetheless.
I know that 8 of the last 9 meetings between the two teams have been won by a touchdown or less. Five of those games were won by only a field goal. But the Steelers still own……errrr, I mean “lease” the Ravens.
The Ravens beat the Steelers once last season. But that was early in the year when Ben Roethlisberger was suspended. When Roethlisberger has played against the Ravens, the Steelers generally win. In fact, Big Ben has beaten the Ravens 7 straight times. If that’s not dominance, I don’t know what is.
Ben Roethlisberger is better than Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco. It’s as simple as that. Flacco has never beaten Roethlisberger. Never. What more proof do you need?
But Roethlisberger isn’t the only advantage the Steelers have over the Ravens.
Big Ben also has better targets to throw to. Anquan Boldin has good hands. But Hines Ward has better hands. Lee Evans is fast. But Mike Wallace is faster. And lets not forget Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. I’d take them over Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss any day.
The Ravens’ new starting tight end is Ed Dickson. Would anybody be willing to trade Heath Miller for him? I didn’t think so.
The thing that has historically defined both teams are their stifling, physical defenses. But much like their offense, the Steelers’ defense is better than the Ravens’.
Ray Lewis, Jarret Johnson, Jameel McClain, and Terrell Suggs are a very good group of linebackers. But LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, James Farrior, and James Harrison are The best in the NFL.
Cory Redding, Terrence Cody, and Haloti Ngata are good. But Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, and Brett Keisel are better.
I have no doubt that Sunday’s game is going to be physical, exciting, and hard-fought. But I also have no doubt about which team is going to emerge victorious from the game.
The last time the Steelers lost their season opener was in 2002. When Sunday’s game is over, that statistic will still be true. After all, the Steelers lease the Ravens.
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