A pair of 5-3 teams that most prognosticators felt were difficult to handicap prior to the season find themselves having successful seasons headed into their Sunday Night Football matchup. The Steelers had what anyone who has watched the NFL this season would view as a very difficult matchup vs. The Colts last weekend. They were absolutely dominant throughout with 35 first half points, including 28 in the second quarter alone. Ben Roethlisberger had one of the most prolific days in NFL history with 522 passing yards and 6 touchdowns while winning his 100th game as a starting quarterback in his 150th career start. Star wide receiver Antonio Brown caught ten balls for 133 yards and two of those touchdowns. It seems like the only team in the NFL that does not have the Cincinnati Bengals number this season is the Ravens who have now lost to the Bengals twice this season after last weeks 27-24 loss. The loss put the Ravens in second place in the AFC North. After Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton ran a quarterback sneak that gave the Bengals the lead the Ravens did not have much time to mount a drive. On first down from the 20, quarterback Joe Flacco avoided the rush and was able to find Steve Smith for an 80 yard catch and run that looked like an apparent game winning touchdown. A flag was thrown on the play and Smith was called for offensive pass interference nullifying the touchdown. The call appeared to be a generous one for the Bengals and a fatal one for the Ravens.
The Steelers have rebounded from a slow start and appear on their way to another playoff appearance. They are a much different team than the one who got blown out and held out of the end zone in their week 2 loss to the Ravens. Much of their resurgence can be credited towards running back Leveon Bell who has become the type of running back that Steelers fans are used to seeing. He is a workhorse who is just as adept on the ground as he is as a pass catcher. The teams major concern may be its overall defense, lost in the dominance of last weeks offensive explosion was the fact that Andrew Luck threw for over 400 yards against their defense and opposing quarterbacks have averaged almost 10 yards per pass over the last 3 games. The secondary has been a disappointment for most of the season.
The Ravens have turned a weakness in the offensive line into strength as Flacco has only been sacked 9 times thus far this season. The Baltimore defense will be looking to rebounding after allowing that long game winning drive last week. There is a lot at stake for both teams as the winner will either be in first place or in second place right behind the Bengals. The loser of the game has the potential to fall all the way into last place behind Cleveland.
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