Sunday, January 18, 2009
I keep saying that no matter what happens in the Ravens game today I'll be happy because I didn't expect them to be good at all. The fact that they made it this far is incredible given the make up of the team and my preseason expectations. And somehow I feel if I keep saying I'll be happy no matter what I'll start to believe it.
But they've come too far. And while the future looks bright for this organization, there is no time like the present. The Ravens are two wins away from the Lombardi trophy. And I feel fairly confident in saying that whoever wins this AFC game will win the Super Bowl. Defense wins championships and the AFC match-up is a battle of powerhouse defenses. But I'm not so sure the Ravens will be the team advancing.
The last time the Ravens lost a playoff game I'm pretty sure I was crying in the bar with my friends. And that game was against the hated Colts. I'm not sure which team I hate more, the Colts or the Steelers. And if history is any indication, I'll probably be a few beers deep by the end of the game. So losing will probably mean crying.
Despite my apprehension, I am glad for this match-up. The Ravens lost to the Steelers twice during the regular season. If they can't best the Steelers in this game, the Ravens don't deserve to be in the Super Bowl. And as hard as it is to beat a team three times in one season, it's a little easier if you have already beat them twice. Teams that have beat a team twice in one season are 11-7 in the third match-up.
Add to that how banged up the Ravens are. They haven't had a bye week all season. They had the second week of the season off because of the hurricane. But didn't know that was going to happen until that Friday so they trained all week. This Ravens team is tired and riddled with injuries. They played an incredibly physical game last week. The Steelers are rested and played a great game last week, but against not nearly as physical a team. The Steelers are coming in as the major favorites in this game.
The main thing the Ravens have going for them this season is that they seem to keep finding ways to win. Tennessee outplayed the Ravens in every category last week except turnovers and points. And at the end of the game points are what really matter. So we'll see what happens. All that's left to do is hope and see how the game plays out. We'll yelling at the screen probably won't hurt either.
Photo: AP found at www.nypost.com