Preview of the Steelers vs Ravens

800px-Heinz_Field_2010The Pittsburgh Steelers will be looking to use the national spotlight that comes with their Thanksgiving Day game, to show everyone why it is that they are quite possibly one of the most thankful teams in the entire league right now. Winners of three in a row, and five of their last seven, the Steelers have rejuvenated their season and look to make a strong push for a playoff spot. A win on Thanksgiving would certainly add to their resume, especially in prime time against a divisional team like Baltimore.

The Ravens have had one of the most up confusing seasons of any team in the NFL this year. They won thee of their first five games, despite being blown out on national television against the Broncos to open up the 2013 NFL season. But losers of four of their last six, it’s hard to predict what to expect from the Ravens on any given day. They did look great in their 19-3 win over the Jets in Week 12, but that might have more to do with a struggling Jets team, rather than the successes of Baltimore.

Considering the fact that the Steelers won the first meeting between these two teams this year in a 19-16 battle, you might think that the Ravens will come out looking to get revenge. Add in the fact that the game is in Baltimore on national television, and you might even think Joe Flacco can step up huge to steal some of the Steelers momentum. Instead, expect Ben Roethlisberger to continue the success that he has had in recent weeks to help Pittsburgh solidify second place in the AFC North, and gain leverage on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Just a few weeks ago, fans in Pittsburgh were hitting the panic button. The Steelers had started the season 0-4, including an embarrassing loss in London against Minnesota. However, they came back from their bye week to win two in a row, including that 19-16 win over the Ravens. But with two more losses in a row, this time to Oakland and New England, rumors began swirling in Pittsburgh over whether or not Ben Roethlisberger was happy, or even content, with his time as the symbol of this franchise. Despite the rumors, Big Ben was able to turn his team around and reel off three wins in a row against the Bills, Lions and a Week 12 win against divisional foe Cleveland.

Both the Steelers and the Ravens need this game on Thanksgiving. Despite mediocre seasons, they both find themselves in the hunt in the AFCand a win against a divisional team would be huge, especially with just a few weeks left in the season. And once the playoffs start, all teams are back to clean records with huge hopes that anything can, and will, happen in the playoffs.

All that said, expect the Steelers to walk away with this one with their fourth win in a row. There is just something about the way Pittsburgh has been playing lately. Their wins haven’t even been close, winning 23-10, 37-27 and 27-11 against the Bills, Lions and Browns respectively. Another win on Thanksgiving would set up a good game against the Dolphins for Week 14, before what would then turn into a huge showdown against Cincinnati in Week 15. Football fans have seen this time and time again from the Steelers, so it’s hard to expect that this year would be any different or that they wouldn’t be able to make a late season push to gain a playoff spot.

The Ravens will need to be firing on all cylinders on Thursday if they hope to head home for a turkey dinner in the excitement of a win. But considering a few of Baltimore’s wins have looked more like flukes, don’t expect that to happen against a team that has been as hot as the Pittsburgh Steelers have been in recent weeks.   Image credit Wikipedia

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