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Prediction Thursday/Friday: Ravens-Steelers

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. And happy holidays to everyone else.

We are shutting the bar down for a few days, since I doubt many of you are going to stop by here when you have presents to open and homemade eggnog to swig.

But we can’t go dark without first discussing Sunday’s game. My buddy Peter Schmuck made a point this week to say that Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh is not a must-win situation for the Ravens.

Technically, he is right. They can still get into the playoffs without winning Sunday – they’d need help, but it is possible.

But we all know football is so much about momentum and confidence. The Ravens appear to have both right now. But, as we chatted earlier in the week, their modest two-game win streak has come against Detroit and Chicago – games they should have won.

Sunday’s no such gimme, even though these Steelers aren’t the Steelers of 2008-09. Pittsburgh’s defense has struggled and its offensive line is not playing well.

These are still the Steelers, however and they still have a remote chance to make the playoffs. And even if they can’t, this is their Super Bowl now: Beating the Ravens and severely hampering their rival’s postseason chances.

So this is a difficult one to predict. Since the Ravens have been so enigmatic this year, because they have had trouble against good quarterbacks and because the Steelers have all but abandoned the run and put the full responsibility of winning on Ben Roethlisberger’s capable shoulders, it’s not a good matchup for the Ravens.

That said, this is the Ravens’ season. Even if they back into the playoffs, their confidence and the momentum will be severely altered.

I say the Ravens pull it out, 24-21, on a Joe Flacco to Todd Heap touchdown inside two minutes. They then pick off Roethlisberger on a desperation heave. Flacco is the hero with three touchdowns.

Although, let me add, I can easily see it go the other way.

As always, predict the score and player of the game in Sunday’s Ravens-Steelers clash.

Daily Think Special: Prediction Friday/Thursday: Ravens-Steelers.


Balto - 30
Pitts - 20

Player of the game: Leron McClain & Ray Rice. 3 td's between them and 200+ all-purpose yards.

Merry Christmas to all......

if you are a true steeler fan, you would be remis not to remember Pittsburg beat the Ravens 3 times last year. And The Steelers Ravens hate each other. AKA Dallas and NY. Pittsburgh needs this win. period.

Seriously,if the coaching staff does'nt play the game "to keep it close",but, plays to call the game to take control ,biuld a lead with our strengths and include elements of surprise,I think the Burgh will fold by the 4th qtr.However,I will not put my trust in any refereeing at Hienz field as they could become an issue if the game is close.I feel confident the Ravens will come to play on national tv;Balto. Ravens 30, Black & Yellow 17.

Ravens 27, Pitsburgh 30 in OT. Ravens player of the game, Ray Rice w 185 yards from scrimmage, 2 rushing TD's, 1 receiving. Pits player of the game and overall, Big Ben with 450+ yards, 4 TD's passing. Raiders game looms LARGE!

The Steelers won't have a 2nd string high school Q-B this game as they did in the earlier game at M&T. I can't pick the Steelers. As renewed a spirit, and as good as they can be. Last weeks last second victory over Green Bay was just great football. Almost as great as the Super bowl's last second victory by Pittsburgh last year. Who can forget the last second or over time victories the Steelers handed us last year again and again. We can't open our mouths til we beat them and beat them good. Like a victory this Sunday. Yep, that would do it. No prediction of score this week from this guy. It's Christmas and I'll be doing far more praying than usual. A victory bt any score and any means, oh how sweet it would be. Go Ravens, go baby go, you can do it. Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!

Ravens 21
Stealers 20
The hero will either be D Williams if Baltimore wins. If the Stealers win it will be due to the refs... not that they will win the game but they wont let it be played evenly and make calls inside 2 minutes that other teams wont get.

This will be a very good game. Steelers would like nothing better than to mess up the Ravens playoffs. Ravens would like nothing better than to sweep Pittsburgh and drive the final nail in their season.

Ravens get it done. Ray Rice has a monster game. Ravens win it 27-24.

Dan .. hope the bar tab wasn't too bad the second time around. ;-)

Ravens 31

Steelers 10

Terrell Suggs sacks Rothle-something twice and forces a fumble which sets up a score.

Man what kool aid are you guys drinking? The Ravens won't win because of two factors:

1. They have only beaten one good qb this year (Phillip Rivers in week two)
2. The Ravens haven't won in Pittsburgh since 2006.

Final score Pittsburgh 31 ravens 14

Did you guys see the Greenbay game, the ravens struggle to score on the road

Have a hard time seeing Ben not salivating over our secondary. Please serve me a purple shot, same one everyone is drinking that makes them predict the Ravens win. Prove me wrong please. Pitt 24 Bmore 17

Let's be realistic Baltimore. We're 1-8 in the last 9 trips to Heinz Field and the secondary is going to be in terrible shape minus Lardarius Webb, and I now see Ed Reed is going to a hip specialist in Miami. Not good.

I say the Steelers win 31-17 with Roethlisberger throwing for 280+ and 3 TD. Roethlisberger will be the difference maker as the ravens won't be able to get a pass rush to him.

Here's a toast hoping I'm wrong!


Ravens 23
Steelers 20

I predict Joe Cool takes the Ravens down field with under 2 minutes left to set up a game winning field goal. Player of the game will go to Cundiff with the game winner with a few seconds left on the clock.

Oh, for crying out loud. Last year was last year. And a bunch of home wins being counted when Kyle Boller, Anthony Wright and Jeff Blake were QB'ing also makes no sense. And Roethlisberger couldn't get it done against CLE when BAL fans were complaining about winning by "only" 34-3 and 16-0 against them. And for all of the boo-hoo-hoo'ing about the Raven secondary, they somehow have yielded fewer points than 30 other NFL teams. The Ravens have played more games against teams that are 7-7 or better than the Steelers and yet have a one-game lead thanks to PIT losing to CHI, KC, OAK, & CLE. I expect a good defensive game, though ... 19-17, BAL.

I'm starting Holmes in my fantasy championship. Nuf said.
steelers 34
Ravens 17
Holmes is the player of the game.with 185 plus three td's. I hope I'm wrong though.

So we get to spend Christmas in here with Steeler fans this year? Here's my Christmas wish list this year:

1. Ravens win, 19-17, with Rice having the big game.

2. Steeler fans in here stay classy, and Ravens fans treat our guests with respect.

3. After the game, no whining about the officials or how the NFL wanted to hose the Ravens with the calls. Even the two or three seriously questionable ones that went against the Purple team.

Dan, pour a special Christmas punch for all the regulars and one for yourself. And a double for Rich for his comments - I won't breathe easy until the final gun sounds with the Ravens ahead. And also for the waspman for his on the mark analysis. Merry Christmas and/or Seasons Greetings to everyone. Drinks on my tab for any active duty military or police officers through Christmas Day.

The 2009 Ravens are much better than the Steelers.

Ravens roll to a 31-10 victory

Ravens will (surprisingly to some but NOT ME) win this in a rout, 28-13 or 31-14. Ray Rice, Derrick Mason, Joe Flacco, and the defense will have a ball and celebrate with joy in Pittsburgh.

Frank Walker and Zibby will be physical and aggressive ball hawkers in the secondary, and the front seven will be pressure cookers taunting the enemy quarterback all game long!


I'm starting Holmes in my fantasy championship. Nuf said.
steelers 34
Ravens 17
Holmes is the player of the game.with 185 plus three td's. I hope I'm wrong though.

Posted by: Dave | December 24, 2009 8:26 AM

Wow...maybe Floyd Mayweather Jr is requesting the wrong man be drug tested. Sherlock Holmes and Priest Holmes have better chances at posting those types of numbers against the Ravens this Sunday.

Ravens are going to dismantle Pittsburgh on 12-27...I promise you!


Pitt 24 Rav 0


Suggs picks off Roethlisberger with 1:37 left to play in the 4th quarter to clinch the win.

Ray Rice scores two TD's (7-yard run and a 27-yard pass play).

Joe Flacco leads a 2:00 min drive against the steelers and throws a touchdown to an unlikely hero...... DAVID TYREE! Score 31-27 Ravens win!!!!! Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas Dan. I enjoy hanging out at your corner bar with my fellow Oriole and Raven fans. Thanks.

Ravens 24 Steelers 23
Very close game between two heated rivals, Ravens are down 23-21 with less than two minutes, Flacco hits Ray Rice for a check down that breaks through and is a 20 plus gainer. Cundiff hits a field goal with less than 2 minutes and ravens D holds Ben this time for a victory

24 - 24 tie after 5 quarters.
Ravens sew up playoff slot. Jags, Broncs and Jets lose.

Pitt 24 Rav 0

Posted by: herb | December 24, 2009 11:41 AM've been smoking too much herb!


I can see if you think the Steelers are going to win, but a shutout? You're nuts. I'm taken the Ravens by 3

Steelers 30
Ravens 13

Merry Christmas to all....even Ravens fans.

Ravens 70
Steelers 69

John Beck forced to play QB for Ravens throws for 10 td's in the second half as the Ravens come back from a 69 point deficit

Dan, give one to Barry on me just for the level of detail in his prediction. And if he's right, lock him in the back till I get next week's lottery picks from him, okay? Nothing personal, Barry, it's just business. We can even go halves on the ticket if you want.

The Ravens get in at 10-6.
The interesting question is can they get in at 9-7 ?
There is a very high probability that PIT beats BAL.
Then assume that BAL defeats OAK to finish 9-7.

Several scenarios are presented here.
Keep in mind that when many teams are tied for the wildcard, the tiebreakers go as follows...

If it is necessary to break ties to determine the two Wild-Card clubs from each conference, the following steps will be taken.

1) If the tied clubs are from the SAME DIVISION, APPLY DIVISION tie breaker.
If the tied clubs are from different divisions, apply the following steps.

2) Head-to-head, if applicable.
3) Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
4) Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
5) Strength of victory.
6) Strength of schedule.
7) Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8) Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9) Best net points in conference games.
10) Best net points in all games.
11) Best net touchdowns in all games.
12) Coin toss.

Compare 9-7 teams on a division basis first.
Rule 1: If BAL and PIT are 9-7, then BAL wins due to a better division record. BAL moves to the next round of tiebreakers.
Rule 1: IF MIA and NYJ are 9-7, then MIA wins due to head-to-head sweep. MIA moves to the next round of tiebreaker
Rule 1: if JAX and HOU are 9-7, then JAX wins due to head-to-head sweep. JAX moves to the next round of tiebreaker

Presume the DEN upsets PHI and finishes 10-6 to claim the first wild card slot. Only the 2nd slot is up for grabs.
MIA plays HOU, so both teams can't be 9-7.
MIA plays PIT, so both teams can't be 9-7.


Compare BAL, MIA, JAX
There is no head-to-head-to-head applicable. The only head-to-head was MIA 14 JAX 10.
JAX breaks any tie involving BAL due to 8-4 conference record, while BAL and MIA would be 7-5.
JAX is still the biggest threat, so root for New England to defeat JAX (likely scenario).


Compare only BAL, MIA both tied at 9-7 and tied with 7-5 conference records. It goes to common games >=4.

BAL vs.
(w) PIT
(L) NE
(W) SD
MIA vs.
(W) NE
(L) NE
(L) SD
Both teams would still be tied.
MIA would win by Strength of Victory. Though both teams are tied at 43, MIA would take the lead by beating HOU & PIT, while BAL falls back after losing to PIT.
Whenever Strength of Victory becomes the tiebreaker, the Ravens are going to lose.


Compare only BAL, NYJ both tied at 9-7 and tied with 7-5 conference records. It goes to common games >=4.
There would only be 2 common games, so go to Strength of Victory.
Currently, BAL leads 43-41. But Jets would win decisively by adding IND and CIN to their total.
So root for the Jets to lose.


BAL beats HOU with a better conference record in the extremely unlikely scenario that they finish tied.
So you should root for HOU to beat MIA.


It gets more complicated if NE falters and finishes in a tie with MIA and/or NYJ.
Jets lose out because their division record stinks at 2-4. JETS CANNOT WIN THE DIVISION.
NE and MIA split head-to-head and would finish with the same division record.
BEFORE comparing Conference record (tied anyway) you must compare COMMON games.
There are always 12 common games, not counting head-to-head of course.
MIA would be 6-6. The "non-common" games were PIT (W), SD (L)
NE would be 6-6. The "non-common" games were BAL (w), DEN (L)
MIA wins conference record. MIA 7-5, NE 6-6
MIA wins division, NE competes for a wild card slot.

NE beat us head-to-head, so we DEFINITELY do not want to be tied with only them.

DEN 10-6:

Winner: Teams Tied: Decisive Tiebreaker:
BAL BAL, PIT (division record)
BAL BAL, HOU (conference record)
MIA BAL, MIA (strength of victory)
NYJ BAL, NYJ (strength of victory)
NE BAL, NE (head-to-head)
JAX BAL, JAX (conference record)
JAX BAL, JAX, MIA (conference record)

It gets really complicated if DEN finishes 9-7. Each division could have a team at 9-7 competing for 2 wild card slots.

BAL beat DEN
DEN beat NE
NE beat BAL
JAX & HOU would have to both beat NE for this scenario

8-4 JAX (in)
7-5 DEN (lead in strength-of-victory of the BAL, MIA. But lose if tied ONLY with BAL)
7-5 MIA (MIA swept JETS head-to-head)
7-5 JETS (out if MIA also had 9 wins. Take lead in Strength of Victory by beating IND & CIN)
7-5 BAL
6-6 NE (out)
6-6 PIT (out)
6-6 CIN (out)

Many possibilities...

Best guess:

NE: JAX(W), HOU(L): 10-6
CIN: KC(W), NYJ(L): 10-6
DEN: PHI(L), KC(W): 9-7
MIA: HOU(W), PIT(W): 9-7
BAL: PIT(L), OAK(W): 9-7
JAX: NE(L), CLE(W): 8-8
NYJ: IND(L), CIN(W): 8-8
PIT: BAL(W), MIA(L): 8-8

NE & CIN win their divisions.
BAL, DEN, MIA compete for the 2 wild card slots.
Strength of victory is the tiebreaker.
DEN > MIA > BAL. DEN and MIA win.
Harbaugh's rejection of Stover costs the Ravens a playoff slot.

Frank Rizzo almost got it right. This will be all D. 12 10 Ravens.

Much as I hate to say this, I think the Ravens' secondary gets smoked by Roethlisberger in this one and game is over by halftime. I also think we lose a shocker to oakland next week and miss the playoffs.
Need stud WR and CB in offseason, just like Ozzie failed to get in this past offseason. What we really need is Bill Polian, GM of the Indy Colts to come here and find quality players in this draft, not Paul Kruger in the 2nd round.......

Yup had the right score, but wrong team winning. What can you do?

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