Nobody wanted the Steelers to play the Ravens next week in the divisional match up. Most wanted the Chiefs. Even the Colts would have been acceptable, but not the Ravens. They're just so big and bad and they are road warriors! Would the football gods smile down upon the Steelers and smite the Ravens? No. I mean, did you expect anything less? Of course, they're playing the Ravens in the divisional playoff game next Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field.
It's going to be a fierce battle. It's going to be a bloodbath. Some people are a little scared of the Ravens, but I'm not. I've seen this act before.
The Baltimore Ravens have been putting on this same show since they won the Super Bowl in 2000.
In 2000, they made the playoffs as a wildcard entrant. They were a 4th seed and they defeated the Denver Broncos at home in the first round before going on the road to upset the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders and advance to Super Bowl XXXV. They then destroyed the New York Giants and completed one of the greatest Super Bowl runs in NFL history.
It really was quite impressive. Ray Lewis and the rest of the Baltimore defense were never more dominant.
They somehow managed to get Trent Dilfer a Super Bowl ring. Now that's what I call a dominant defense.
But ever since that year, the Ravens have been trying to take the same route to the Super Bowl and have come up short each time.
You know why? Because byes are important!
Someone needs to tell these big, bad Ravens that the best road to the "The Show" is by only playing two games, both, preferably, at home.
Did you know that the Baltimore Ravens have only earned a bye in the playoffs once in their entire history? That was back in 2006 when they finished 13-3 and were the 2nd seed in the AFC. They were one and done that season, losing to the Indianapolis Colts, 15-6.
The Ravens have only won two division championships since moving to Baltimore in 1996 and their last title was way back in 2006 (Cincinnati has won two division titles since 2005 to give you some perspective.) And they've only hosted three playoff games: 2000, 2003, and 2006.
So the Baltimore Ravens might be big and bad, but they need to learn a little about winning key regular season games in-order to give themselves the best chance to make it to the Super Bowl.
I wasn't surprised by Baltimore's masterful, 30-7, win over the Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium yesterday.
It was Ravens 101.
Open up on the road against an upstart team that doesn't have much playoff experience and make them look silly.
They did the same thing two years ago when they went into Miami and had a field day with Chad Pennington and the rest of a Dolphins team that was 1-15 just a year prior.
It was almost a carbon copy of what they did in the 2001 playoffs when they played Miami on the road in the first round and made their quarterback, Jay Fiedler, look like Jay Fiedler.
It's always the same thing with them. Even last year when they went up to Foxboro and blew out Tom Brady and the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs. That might seem impressive at first glance, but the Patriots were without Wes Welker in that game and Tom Brady was only in his first season back after missing the entire 2008 campaign with a knee injury.
And every time the Ravens open up with that impressive road win in the playoffs, the experts gush over how great Baltimore looks and that they have the kind of team built to go to the Super Bowl.
But these "road warriors" have only advanced to the AFC championship game once since 2000.
Why? Because the 2nd round of the playoffs usually isn't inhabited by the likes of Jay Fiedler, Chad Pennington, and Matt Cassel. The 2nd round is usually the residence of guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Big Ben Roethlisberger.
I will give Baltimore credit this season. They certainly do look like a team capable of doing damage with some weapons on offense. And they did finish the regular season with the same 12-4 record as the Steelers.
But again, they couldn't win a key game down the stretch that would have given them a bye week and a home game in the 2nd round. Troy Polamalu made sure of that with one swift chop.
So, Ravens, you're in comfortable surroundings: On the road in the playoffs. And everyone will spend the week singing your praises because you're just so damn tough.
But are you really that tough? Are you Chuck Norris tough? Or are you the guy that beats up some little geeks at the beginning of a Chuck Norris movie only to get taken out pretty easily by Chuck before the opening credits are even done?
Using your recent playoff history as a barometer, I'd say you're the latter.
I'm predicting a pretty easy win this week for the Steelers because the stars always beat the uncredited "bad guys" in the movies.