So instead let’s have a look at how things are going in the glorious AFC North.
Tag Archives: Joe Flacco
Photo via Steelers.com
I’m always very conflicted about Steelers-Ravens. Part of me looks forward to what often proves to be a true test of a given Steelers club. This is irrespective of whether the current iteration of the Ravens is a good team or a bad one. (See the embarrassment in Baltimore to a bad team quarterbacked by Ryan Mallett.)
But, as several people just on this site have noted, it’s pretty difficult at this point in the season to make any sort of determination as to what sort of team the Steelers are this year. (Or, I suppose, the Ravens, although they’ve been faintly more consistent.) We are all still trying to get a handle on what’s going on, just here in Pittsburgh.
It always seems to come down to this, doesn’t it? Last year’s contest in December was a notable exception, and perhaps that is why it was such a weird game—it’s so unusual for so little to be riding on the final Steelers/Ravens game.
That would be “quarter” as in “quarter of the season.” Ivan Cole did a well-researched and thoughtful series last week about how the Steelers are doing so far. But as we fans know, speculation is more fun than research, although a little bit may be involved.
The schedule for the remaining three games is:
- Week 6—Steelers at Dolphins
- Week 7—Patriots at Steelers
- Week 8—Bye
- Week 9—Steelers at Ravens
In Part 1 we looked at the Carolina Panthers, who had the worst record in the league in 2010 and went to the Super Bowl after the 2015 season. I’m not whether the Panthers ownership would have called it a reboot, but it certainly had many of the elements, at least, of one: new coaching staff, and [eventually] a new general manager, high draft picks for a few years, cutting and/or letting walk in free agency over half of the roster.
Compare this to the Steelers—no change in head coach or general manager, minimal (and incremental) changes to the remainder of the coaching staff, a slow, steady divesture of the older veterans, and a good enough record during the process to never get a higher draft pick than No. 15 (and mostly lower.)
Today’s comparison is to the Baltimore Ravens, a traditional, bitter rival, and a team whose front office, and particularly their GM, Ozzie Newsome, is very highly regarded throughout the league. Read more
After the previous Sunday’s glorious victory over the Patriots, Steelers fans were ready to see the Ravens crushed as some sort of payback for the season-opening debacle. But alas, it was not to be.
As Hombre de Acero wrote on that dreary day in early November of 2011:
A week ago the Steelers had pole position on an AFC first round bye and at least one guaranteed home playoff game at Heinz Field Now tie breakers place them third in the AFC North. Does anyone require more proof that the NFL really stands for “Not For Long?” The upside is that the Ravens sweep gives us plenty to talk about.
After taking its own bye week, Stats ‘N At is back! It will be even longer than usual, since there is a lot of ground to cover, so get yourself another cup of coffee and something nice to go with it and let’s look at the AFC North picture.
First, a quick review of the two AFC North games for Week 11. The AFC North was .500 that week. If you had to guess which team would win and which would lose I’m assuming you would go with a Bengals win and a Ravens loss, but of course that’s not how it came out, in terms of the record at least. You can argue the Ravens actually lost big time, as they lost their No. 1 running back, Justin Forsett, and their apparently indestructible QB, Joe Flacco, during the course of a game in which they scratched out a 16-13 win.
I wrote an article for Steelers Wire expressing my belief that this was fortuitous. Apparently the Ravens’ brain trust didn’t read it, because the Ravens beat the Browns this week. Well, I’m not going to weep for them losing out on a top-five draft pick, that’s for sure!
The Bengals, on the other hand, lost to the Cardinals, making the Steelers the only AFC North team to beat Bruce Arians’ squad this season. Admittedly the Bengals played them in Arizona, the Steelers at home, but the Steelers were playing Landry Jones at quarterback and the Steelers defense held the Cardinals to 13 points. The closest any other team has come are the Rams, Destroyer of Quarterbacks, (or at least some important bits of them,) who held them to 22 points. That’s something with which to comfort ourselves on a dreary December day after the Seahawks touched the Steelers D up for 39 points. But I digress.