Only, it’s too bad the Seahawks slipped and let the couch fall all the way down the stairs on Sunday, as they were totally outclassed at home by the Ravens, 30-16, in a game most optimistic Steelers fans had highlighted on their smartphone calendars as a way to possibly make the AFC North a little tighter.
Nope. Instead, Pittsburgh’s two-game deficit in the division (three, when you factor in the head-to-head tiebreaker the Ravens currently have thanks to an overtime win at Heinz Field on October 6) is now two-and-a-half.
Instead of a 4-3 record for a team that really hadn’t defeated a quality opponent before Sunday, it is now 5-2, and the Ravens are looking more and more like one of the major contenders for the AFC crown.
A couple of weeks ago, it looked as if the Steelers would have to contend with a troubled but really good cornerback, when the Rams traveled to Heinz Field for a Sunday afternoon match-up on November 10. That cornerback was supposed to be Marcus Peters. Instead, it will be Jalen Ramsey, who got a new lease on life by jerking his way out of Jacksonville, who traded him to the defending NFC champions.
What about Peters? Oh yeah, I guess the Rams weren’t willing to put up with two egomaniac cornerbacks, so they shipped Peters off to another team. A woeful one, though, right? A team that doesn’t have a prayer of doing anything in 2019, right? A situation that will make Peters realize he has to change his stripes, right?
Haha, good one. No, Peters is now a member of the Ravens and will make an already really good defense even better. He did that on Sunday, in fact, by intercepting Russell Wilson and taking said pick to the house.
Not only are the Ravens now a much better football team on paper, they surely have a lot of swagger and confidence after dismantling one of the NFC’s finest and doing it right there in front of their 12th man.
It may have been easier to get around the on paper part if Seattle would have come through on Sunday. Now, that swagger and confidence are going to be hard to conquer, even for teams like the Patriots and 49ers.
And even if the Ravens do come up short more often than not against those aforementioned quality opponents, I’m guessing they’ll also have to be tripped up a time or two in one of those trap games if the Steelers are going to have a real chance at closing the gap.
As for the Steelers, they’ll not only have to hold serve against opponents that are inferior to them, they’ll probably need to knock off at least one that nobody is expecting them to beat.
Easier said than done.
It’s not going to be an easy task, especially without Ben Roethlisberger.
Obviously, there’s still a long season ahead, and my outlook could be totally different 14 days from now, if the Steelers win their next two games, and Baltimore loses its next one to the Patriots.
But my outlook would look much, much better right now, had the Ravens just stuck to the script and lost to the Seahawks on Sunday.