Rob Long: Ravens Playoff Bound
You could sense the anxiety among the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens were putting together yet another sluggish offensive performance. While both players and fans were scoreboard watching, it was beginning to look more and more like the Ravens just needed to take care of business to earn their sixth playoff berth in seven seasons. The problem was, the team was not taking care of business, trailing 13-6 to a Cleveland Browns team starting a rookie free agent quarterback.
Then, all of a sudden Joe Flacco completes a 53 yard play to Torrey Smith on the first play of the drive to jump start the Ravens offense. On the very next play Flacco connects with T. Smith again but this time for the first Ravens touchdown of the day and a 13-10 lead.
The Ravens would never look back and would secure the 20-10 win and coupled with a San Diego Chargers loss to the Kansas City Chiefs return to the post season after a one-year absence. The team is now 10-6 and heading to Pittsburgh for the second time this season. The two teams met in the Steel City on November 2nd when the Steelers defeated the Ravens 43-23.
The Steelers could be without Pro-Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell who is currently listed as Questionable. The Steelers were able to defeat the Ravens in November without Bell having his usual All-Pro like performance as he was held to 20 yards on 10 carries and 38 yards receiving on five catches. The running back did get in the endzone with a five yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger.
The Baltimore Ravens have some question marks with Timmy Jernigan, who left the game Sunday with an ankle injury. The Ravens were without both of their starting tackles in Rick Wagner and Eugene Monroe. While Wagner was placed on I.R., Monroe could return after missing Sunday's game with an ankle injury.
The Ravens will get a boost from Haloti Ngata who will return from his four-game suspension on Saturday night. While it's tough to predict what kind of shape he will be in, you know number 92 will be anxious to return, especially under these circumstances.
IT'S RAVENS/STEELERS WEEK...AGAIN
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