Every analysis of this game that even pretends neutrality will pick the Ravens by 3 - just like the spread. They say, and I agree, that the only discernable difference maker in this game is the Steelers O-line, which looked horrible last week. Both starting tackles on IR means goodbye season. The only dissenting voice I've heard or read is that of football humorist Peter King, who picks the Steelers by 3 on a "Gut feeling that Rashard Mendenhall, the tougher Mendenhall, will outgain and outscore Ray Rice."
I'm in the top 10% of my pick'em game, and I've picked the Steelers every week until now. I picked the Steelers over the Saints and Pats, even though I knew the short passing game would shred our D. I just trusted the Black and Gold would overcome. If they can't beat these quality teams now, then when?
Now the wounded Steelers face their arch rivals on the road, with the aforementioned O-line woes. The Saints and Patriots games just killed me to watch. Train wreck in slow motion, climax of a Vietnam movie, this is your brain on drugs killed me. Steelers losses are the single most stressful thing in my life. So why am I looking forward to a game I predict the Steelers to lose?
I expect the Steelers to play truly inspired football on Sunday night. They've done a better job of not playing down to their opponent's level, but a team with so many savvy veterans is going to hold back against the Bills and Bengals. This Sunday, however, every member on the team knows their best performance is needed, and I'm eager to see them deliver on that promise.
Our secondary will have a hard time with their wideouts.
Our offensive line will have a day in hell against Gregg, Lewis, and Ngata.
Ben with a limp will certainly face pressure, blitzes, and Ngata in the backfield. When he looks downfield, Reed will be lurking.
I think that Ben can find more success than Flacco. I think that our defense will be back to Week 2 form. I think Mendenhall will bounce for decent yardage. I just can't believe it until I see it, and I'm really, really going to enjoy seeing it.