The Steelers winning might not get them in the playoffs. The Ravens losing might not knock them out of playoff contention. Does it really matter? It does not.
The Ravens got to sweep the Steelers for the first time in their ill-gotten existence three years ago. How obnoxious were they about it? Despite their team not having beaten Roethlisberger since that sweep and the Steelers taking all three games last year, Ravens fans still invoke 2006 like it happened yesterday. Moreover, Ray Lewis kills people then Terrell Suggs drenches the body in bleach.
Last week, Baltimore lost their only halfway competent cornerback, rookie Lardarius Webb, for the season. Add to that the likely absence of Ed Reed and Big Ben could very well throw for 500 yards again. Then again, with the way the offensive line in general and Max Starks in specific seem to have regressed in the last two weeks, Big Ben may be more concerned with not sustaining another concussion.
Not the Steelers secondary has been playing any better in recent weeks. The pass rush will have step up like they did in the first meeting in Baltimore to keep William Gay from being torched on Baltimore's requisite three or four "fuck it, we're throwing it deep" attempts. That in mind, Ray Rice is still the chief concern when Baltimore has the ball. Take away Rice and the Ravens probably have nine or 10 losses right now. He's by far their biggest threat on offense.
Rice is good enough that even gameplanning for him, you know he's going to break a big play either running or through a short pass. Joe Flacco played pretty badly in the first meeting, but his numbers were made to look respectable because he was able to hit Rice in the flat and let his running back do all the work. Can't flaut them for that - it's the Ravens best strategy for success on offense.
So what we could likely have is an uncharacteristic shoot-out between two teams reputed for their defenses. Which is fine by me. Really any scenario which results in the Ravens being brought low suits me just fine.
Side note: Please go to the fan club site to vote for a charity to receive money from the shirt sales this year. Thanks.