It’s tough to win 12 games in the NFL and still not win your division. That’s exactly what the Steelers did in 2011 and it was due to the inability to beat the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers-Ravens rivalry has become one of the better rivalries in the NFL in recent years and 2012 should be full of excitement. The Steelers and Ravens don’t face each other until week 11 this year. After that game the Steelers will be at Cleveland playing another rival and then in week 13 they travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens for the second time in three weeks.
In 2011 Pittsburgh dropped both games to Baltimore including an embarrassing loss in week one. In that game the Steelers came out flat and were blown out 35-7. Luckily in 2012 they will have some time to get there feet wet before taking on their division rivals. By the way the Ravens had something to prove in week one of 2011. Coming off another playoff defeat to the Steelers they wanted to show that they were no longer the little brother in the AFC North. In fact, the Ravens were a dropped pass away from a Super Bowl birth last season (too soon?).
This is a new season and both teams have had plenty of turnover during the offseason. The Steelers and Ravens both will have Super Bowl aspirations and both teams will be in contention barring any major injuries.
Terrell Suggs is likely to miss at least the first eight weeks of the season for the Ravens, but the outside linebacker has marked week 10 as his latest return point. There is likely a reason for that. Suggs a self-proclaimed Pittsburgh Steelers hater will want to get at least one game under his belt before playing the Steelers. It is very likely Suggs could be back for both Steelers-Ravens games in 2012.
Pittsburgh fans won’t lie about their feelings towards the Ravens and vice versa. In a poll asking Steelers fans if they would rather go 2-14 beating Baltimore twice, or 14-2 losing to Baltimore twice (with the stipulation that the Steelers don’t win the Super Bowl) many fans preferred to beat Baltimore twice. Beating the Ravens is almost as important as winning the Super Bowl in Pittsburgh.
Beating Baltimore will also be a key to the Steelers’ success in 2012. I will say it right now: if the Steelers drop both games to the Ravens in 2012 there is no chance they will win the AFC North. In a rivalry with a team as good as the Ravens it is important to win at home. Therefore, week 11 is a key game on the schedule this year. If the Steelers can win the week 11 match-up they will put the pressure on Baltimore to win in week 13.
Steelers fans, players, coaches, and just about everyone associated with Steeler Nation still has a bad taste in their mouth after the two Ravens games in 2011. To change the mood here are a couple Steelers-Ravens highlights from recent years that went in favor of the good guys:[youtube]1-3lIHIyXLs[/youtube] [youtube]Vdh5u1KM3ck[/youtube] [youtube]RTYQtkxv1iQ[/youtube] [youtube]J8OE6pfY8NY[/youtube]