AFC Wild Card
(6) Ravens at (3) Steelers
Ravens: The last time we saw them playing postseason football, they were hoisting the Lombardi trophy in New Orleans and they sent Ray Lewis into retirement the right way. They’re a much different team now than they were back then. Joe Flacco had a great bounce back season in 2014. 27 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. The biggest surprise of this offense has been Justin Forsett. He’s finally received his opportunity to shine after being released by two teams. When I look at the Ravens defense, the front seven is scary and they get Haloti Ngata back which will give them a boost up front. The secondary though is the worst in the league and I know injuries happen but they’ve just plugged guys in and it’s hurting them. Over the years, the Ravens have defeated the Steelers 13 times in the regular season, never in the playoffs.
Steelers: It’ll be a great sight to see the black and gold back in the playoffs. They were quite shaky at the beginning of the year and when you look at their five losses this year, some were against teams that didn’t even make the playoffs. Cleveland, Tampa Bay, the Saints and Jets were the games they lost. Ben Roethlisberger has played some of the best football I’ve seen from him in years. He has a top five receiver in Antonio Brown and other weapons that can stretch the field vertically. The. biggest improvement has been the defense, especially the front seven because at the beginning of the year they lacked a lot of discipline and made many mistakes. Now, they’re making plays, making tackles and not missing gap assignments. The Steelers are also getting some aggressive play from their secondary. It’s always personal when the Ravens come to town.
Prediction: When these two met in the regular season, both games were decided by 20 points including a 6 touchdown pass game from Big Ben. The Steelers will be without Le’Veon Bell and he’s a big part of what they do offensively. The Ravens have to keep Brown in check and keep Ben in the pocket. The Steelers have to mix it up offensively and pressure Flacco. I like the Steelers in this one. Steelers 23 Ravens 21