The Baltimore Ravens kicked the Steelers’ butts in week 1.
As much as I hate saying that, there’s no other way to put it. Ray Rice ran all over our defense, and Terrell Suggs got closer to Big Ben than Mrs. Roethlisberger probably does.
But that was then, and this is now.
Since that 35-7 spanking that the Ravens put on the Steelers, the Steelers have gotten better, and the Ravens have gotten worse.
Who would have thought following that opening week trouncing that the Steelers would be in first place in the AFC in week 9? But that’s exactly what happened.
Similarly, who would have thought that the Ravens would lose to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, and almost lose to the even lowlier Arizona Cardinals?
Perhaps the biggest difference in this game versus the first meeting will be the presence of Max Starks in the Steelers’ lineup. Jonathan Scott started at left tackle for the Steelers in the first meeting, and Terrell Suggs ate him alive. But in their many meetings, I don’t believe that Suggs has ever had a multi-sack game when facing Starks.
Another big difference in this game will be the fact that the Steelers have taken their passing attack to another level. Despite being known for historically having a pounding running attack, the current Steelers are a passing team. Big Ben trails only Tom Brady in passing yards in the AFC. Nobody saw that coming.
And finally, the Ravens probably won’t be able to beat the Steelers with the constant cut blocks that they used in week 1. The Ravens’ offensive linemen were constantly attacking the legs of Steelers’ nose tackle Casey Hampton. They had never used that tactic against the Steelers before, but the Steelers will be ready for it this time.
So despite the lopsided loss in week 1, I definitely expect to see a Steelers victory this week.
Back-to-back victories over the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens will clearly establish the Steelers as the team to beat in the AFC. But more importantly, it will help us all to forget that nightmare that happened in week 1.