Though I would be the first to tell you the Ravens can take nothing for granted on Sunday night in Pittsburgh – and did in my column in today's paper – this is another one of those games that they have to win if they are going to put themselves in position to make a deep playoff run.
There’s a long way to go, of course, but the Ravens obviously are in the best position right now to win the AFC North, and a victory over the suddenly vulnerable Steelers on the road would create a nice cushion heading into a very tough part of their schedule.
Remember, it’s not just about getting to the playoffs. It’s about getting home-field advantage for as long as possible.
The Ravens lost a potential tiebreaker when they were trounced by the Houston Texans, who remain the only team with a better record than Baltimore in the AFC. It won’t be easy maintaining that place in the postseason pecking order with a raft of tough opponents on their second-half shedule, but it will be doable if they can manage to win two of the next three games.
That’s going to be very tough with a West Coast trip wedged between the two Steelers showdowns, but will become a lot more likely after a win at Heinz Field. I’m guessing the Ravens will make it happen, especially if Joe Flacco can take advantage of the Steelers apparently depleted secondary.
Of course, the Ravens are missing some important people in their secondary, too, but the Steelers figure to try and win this game on the ground.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times