Week 13’s game of the week in the AFC North is no surprise; the Steelers head to Baltimore to try to stay in the division race. The Ravens can clinch the division with a win, but the Steelers desperately need a win to bounce back. This is going to be a close game; I’ll break it down for you below.
Injury Report: This is usually my last segment, however it’s the most important this week. Will Ben Roethlisberger play? The answer, unfortunately for the Steelers, is no. Roethlisberger will stay on the sidelines as his team struggles against their division rival. With Leftwich also injured, the Steelers turn to Charlie Batch again. The Ravens on the other hand won’t be missing anyone important, there are a few questionables on their defense but most will play. The loss of Roethlisberger hurts the Steelers but can they overcome it?
Key Matchup: Ravens Defense vs. Steelers Running backs. The Steelers are going to be able to slow down and stop the Raven offense; I have no doubt of that. If they can score 20 points, they may very well win the game. The bad news is, can Charlie Batch lead the Steelers to 20 points? I don’t think so. If the Steelers are going to win this game they need to pound the rock. They have 3 guys who can handle many carries and they would do well to give it to them. If the Steelers can establish the running game, they could win. On the other hand, if Baltimore can shut the Steeler rushing game down, they’ll win this game. Batch isn’t going to beat them. It has been a difficult task thus far for the Ravens though, ranking only 26th in the NFL in rushing defense.
Player to watch: Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall is finally getting healthy and looks to lead this three headed monster at running back. The Ravens have a soft rush defense so this could very well be a coming out party for him.
My Prediction: Steelers 10 Ravens 21. I don’t think Charlie Batch can win this football game. The Ravens and Jim Harbaugh are too smart, and too good to let Charlie Batch come in and beat them at home. This will be a close game though. Look for a key interception to be the deciding factor.