Steelers playoff tickets are back in 2014 and the first round brings the Baltimore Ravens to town. Pittsburgh claimed the NFC North with an 11-5 record. The Ravens crawled in at 10-6 and offer an excellent opponent for a Wild Card Round. For one thing these are division rivals. They see each other twice a season so there won’t be many surprises. Or will there?
To begin with, these teams aren’t that far apart. The Steelers have the advantage of selling playoff tickets to their home crowd, a factor that can’t be ignored. When playoff time comes around the home field advantage is big, really big. Pittsburgh also is riding the arm of one of the most proven quarterbacks in the business in Ben Roethlisberger, who has had some huge games this season, including a six touchdown performance against this Ravens secondary.
Keep an eye on the Le V’eon bell situation. After being injured last week, reports are out that bell suffered no structural damage to his knee. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be at full strength or even on the field. If he can’t make the game, Pittsburgh has little to back him up and will have two go with either Dri Archer or Josh Harris and that means not only the running game being in question but also adds some element of uncertainty to pass protection schemes.
The Baltimore Ravens come into this with a chip on their shoulders after the last beatdown at Heinz Field. Al always, the ravens defense is tough up front but now has some question marks in the secondary. Joe Flaco doesn’t seem to be worried despite some struggles on offense in recent games. If the Ravens offense is going to wake up and cover a suspect defense, now would be the time.Eric Drouant