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Old 12-12-2008, 08:34 PM   #1
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Default Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas
Dec. 12, 2008
By Clark Judge
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/story/11167907/rss

Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 4:15 p.m. ET | Endzone

The line: Ravens by 1

The story: Remember the good ol' days of Buddy Ryan and body bags? They're here again with Buddy's son, Rex, overseeing one of the two best defenses in the league. The other is Sunday's opponent, and when these two clubs are finished the football field could like the aftermath of Gettysburg.

Forget total points; I want to know the over/under on the casualty count.

There will be no rougher, tougher, more physical game this year than this one, and this time there are no bounties. At least that's what I'm told. Anyway, the NFL should rate this game PG-13 for violence, and you should not watch it in 3-D.

I look at Baltimore's Ray Lewis and wonder if there's a more active linebacker in the business; then I see Pittsburgh's James Harrison and realize there is. The linebackers from both clubs will wreak havoc, with Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau unleashing a full-court press on quarterback Joe Flacco.

That is no surprise. Flacco is a rookie. The Steelers like to blitz. Put the two together, and you better have tight ends and running backs available to step in as speed bumps. Flacco is the X-factor here. I don't worry how Ben Roethlisberger responds to pressure because he has been in this spot so many times before. But Flacco is new to it, and while I love his resilience and even-keeled demeanor I worry how he handles the pressure of a big game.

And make no mistake: This is as big for the Ravens as it is for Pittsburgh. No, bigger. With a win, they can tie for first in the division. With a loss, they could be in deep kimchi because they travel to Dallas next weekend.

This game is a tough call, but it will come down to turnovers. Whoever makes them loses. A week ago, it was Dallas and the Steelers prevailed. The first time these two met it was Baltimore and the Steelers won again. Pittsburgh is among the league leaders with 25 takeaways, but it is one behind Baltimore, which leads the NFL in interceptions with 22.

That means Roethlisberger must step carefully. Pittsburgh won't run on the Ravens -- nobody but the Giants has -- so the squeeze is on Big Ben. Of course, it's on Flacco, too, with Joe trying to solve a defense that ranks first in seven categories and is tied for first in sacks with 45.

If it's Big Ben vs. Flacco, I'm sticking with the veteran. Me? I think this comes down to the kickers, with a last-minute field goal determining the division.

Something to consider: In his past two starts against Baltimore, Roethlisberger has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 400 yards, six touchdowns, one interception and a 129.2 passer rating. He also won both games.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

I hope we get out of this game without too many injuries. We lost 2 guys for the season the last time we played this team.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

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I hope we get out of this game without too many injuries. We lost 2 guys for the season the last time we played this team.
Amen but at least we had the injuries early enough so that we could get healthy now.
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Old 12-12-2008, 10:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

I agree. . .

This game is going to just be BRUTAL.

However, there is NOTHING like a baptism, it is now put up or shut up for the line!!
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

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I agree. . .

This game is going to just be BRUTAL.

However, there is NOTHING like a baptism, it is now put up or shut up for the line!!
Yeah, but most baptisms are done with water....this one's being done with acid.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

I hope Troy plays like a rat on acid all over the field making plays and some good hits.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

I think this game is going to come down to who wants the AFCN crown bad enough and I believe that team will be the Steelers. As a team, they have to play an almost perfect game - no turnovers and no stupid penalties. The O has to capitalize on the Rats' turnovers and with Lebeau sending in our rabid dogs on Flacco, I predict there will be several turnovers on the purple side of the ball.

Smack 'em in the beaks early, hold onto the ball, play 60 minutes of Steelers football on both sides of the ball and we'll come out of Baltimore with a W and the AFCN crown.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

I think your right, Flacco showed the last time he can not handle the Steelers pressure, and I would expect the offense to take better care of the ball. Its the drive killing penalties I'm worried about. This line doesn't seem to be able to handle success.
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

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I think your right, Flacco showed the last time he can not handle the Steelers pressure, and I would expect the offense to take better care of the ball. Its the drive killing penalties I'm worried about. This line doesn't seem to be able to handle success.
Actually, I was impressed with the way Flacco handled the pressure

Sure, he was sacked 5 times and a fumble returned for a TD, but for most of the game he seemed poised. He wasn't though when the team most needed him, when having to keep the lead and when needing to win the game.

But overall he impressed me

Not that I'm expecting him to do the same this game. The pass rush is even better now, and the secondary is healthier and with a more experienced william Gay

Flacco is going down!!
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Old 12-13-2008, 10:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Peek at the Week: Ravens host gory nightmare before Christmas

he wasn't rattled like i thought he would be for being a rookie... i think we need 2 get more pressure on him this time around and actually cover some of his wr's so he can't get to that comfort zone
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