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Steelers at Ravens: This One is for All The Marbles

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When the Baltimore Ravens meet the Pittsburgh Steelers for a battle at M&T Bank Stadium today, they will not just play for bragging rights and another W… everything is on the line.

Between that game and the Jets vs. Patriots battling out their own division title aspirations on Monday night, the 2 winners of these 4 teams will have the inside edge to make the playoffs, take the division crown, and potentially own home-field advantage  throughout the post-season.

But a win will mean more to the Steelers than it will for the Ravens. Here’s why:

With a Ravens win, they will not only be one game ahead of the Steelers, but they will need to lose at least 2 more games than the Steelers in the remaining 5 games to lose the division on record, since they will win the head-to-head tie breaker.

With a Steelers win, they will have leveled the playing field by beating the Ravens on the road and will have a better record, both in the division and in the conference. But that doesn’t give them a big enough edge, since a Steelers loss and Ravens win a week later can tie things up again, leaving the tie-breaker to the team with the better conference record at the end of the season.

Here is how the rest of the season stacks up for both teams after this Sunday night:

Baltimore Ravens (8-3) are 4-1 in last 5 games. Here are their upcoming opponents:

  • Houston Texans (5-7) are 1-4 in last 5 games: AWAY – AFC
  • New Orleans Saints (8-3) are 4-1 in last 5 games: HOME – NFC
  • Cleveland Browns (4-7) are 3-2 in last 5 games: AWAY – AFC
  • Cincinnati Bengals (2-9) are 0-5 in last 5 games: HOME – AFC

So the Ravens will face opponents who currently own a combined record of 19-26 (8-12 in last 5 weeks).

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) are 3-2 in last 5 games. Here are their upcoming opponents:

  • Cincinnati Bengals (2-9) are 0-5 in last 5 games: HOME – AFC
  • New York Jets (9-2) are 4-1 in last 5 games: HOME – AFC
  • Carolina Panthers (1-10) are 0-5 in last 5 games: HOME – NFC
  • Cleveland Browns (4-7) are 3-2 in last 5 games: AWAY – AFC

So the Steelers will face opponents who currently own a combined record of 16-28 (7-13 in last 5 weeks).

The reason for the different overall record is because the Houston Texans already played this week in a losing effort to Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Maybe the Steelers lose that game to the Jets and maybe the Ravens lose that game to the Saints, but I see both teams ending their last 4 games with 1 loss at the most.

That means the battle today is for all the marbles.