Instead, the Ravens’ offense played as though they were in quicksand, the defense was gashed up the middle to a team that couldn’t run at the time, and the special teams wet the bed in a crucial situation. In addition, the Steelers used the game to resuscitate their season.
It was a lost opportunity—something that we have seen the Ravens do quite a few times this year.
Tonight’s Thanksgiving primetime showdown presents another opportunity—for both teams. It is essentially a week 13 playoff game. The winner puts itself in a good position for the final wildcard spot, while keeping pressure of the division-leading Bengals.
The Ravens cannot afford a season sweep by the Steelers for many reasons. Obviously, the biggest reason is that the Ravens cannot afford another loss, period. But, since the Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, the Steelers will most likely wind up with a better division record than the Ravens. With a win today, the Steelers could potentially have a 5-1 divisional record. The Ravens are hoping for a 4-2 or 3-3 divisional record. Moreover, the Steelers have a much favorable schedule than the Ravens, ending the season with three of their last four games playing at Heinz Field. The Ravens still have Detroit, New England, and Cincinnati.
The Ravens need to limit the big-play ability of the Steelers’ defense. The Ravens’ offense needs to better capitalize on field position and finish off drives with touchdowns, not field goals. Last week’s field position wastefulness cannot happen again tonight. The Ravens need to come up big in a big moment like tonight’s spotlight showdown.
In short, the Ravens cannot afford to squander another big opportunity. Here are this week's plotlines. Happy Thanksgiving!