Welcome to a new weekly column on The Purple Chaos, called “Wednesdays with Walker.” A member of the team at Baltimore Sports Report, Edgar Walker will join us every Humpday to share his thoughts on all things Ravens.
First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Edgar Walker, and I’m not a lot different from you. I’m a massive Ravens fan, I hate the Steelers and I like to think I know a little bit about football. I could go on and on about how great I am, and share a quirky little story about how I became a Ravens fan, but I’ll just let my site bio do that job for me (about halfway down the page).
Now to the business at hand. I’ll list five words, and if you’re a Ravens fan and don’t get absolutely pumped by them, you may want to check your pulse. Ravens. Steelers. Sunday. Week One.
“You play to win the game!”
The Ravens go into every game looking for a win. Most of the time, they come out with one as well. Obviously, Steelers games are different. Not only does this game matter so much towards the AFC North race and the playoff race, but it has the feel of a make-or-break game for each team’s season. If the Ravens beat the Steelers, the season could be considered a success. If the Ravens lose to the Steelers, the season will more than likely be looked upon poorly.
In reality, both of these teams should win at least 10 games every season. A loss to a great, 10-win team isn’t that much of a hiccup in a successful season for most teams. In this rivalry, bragging rights are important, but beating the Steelers is such a great achievement, that it can set the tone for the entire Ravens’ season.
Keep an eye on the new guys.
As always, the Ravens return an insanely talented and experienced core group of players. Reed, Lewis, Suggs; even Flacco and Rice. This season, in a concept that’s fairly foreign to Ravens fans, the team has brought in a nice stable of proven veterans to bolster the team.
Bryant McKinnie, Lee Evans, Bernard Pollard, and Vonta Leach will all have large roles with the team. Heck, even Ricky Williams should have an impact this year. For these guys’ first game to be against the Steelers is a great challenge for them, but also an awesome test of their mettle, and a good indication of how they’ll fit with the Ravens.
Haloti Ngata, please break Fat Ben’s nose again. Please?
All jokes aside, this game is a bloodbath every year. It could be a broken nose, or a massive hit in the middle of the field causing a scare about a neck injury. Rest assured, we’ll see an injury in this game, and it could be to a key player. Neither team will hold anything back, but the thought must be in the back of certain players’ minds that they could be in danger of an injury that would keep them out for the rest of the game, or worse, a long stretch of games. While I don’t think this will have any factor in the way the game plays out, it’s something to think about.
“Brush the dirt off your shoulders.”
The Ravens’ loss in the playoffs last season was tough, and being that the loss was to the Steelers makes it even worse. While I’m trying to avoid sounding too cliche, this type of game is the one that separates the men from the boys, and the champions from the chumps. I have no doubt in my mind that the Steelers could leave Baltimore with a win, but I firmly believe that the Ravens will want this win more, and that will push them over the top. Believe me, that’s not just the fan inside of me talking.
On Sunday, expect to see some crazy things happen, expect to see some memorable things happen, but most importantly, get ready for some football.
Edgar Walker is a weekly columnist for The Purple Chaos. See more of his work at Baltimore Sports Report or Essex-Middle River Patch. Follow Edgar on Twitter if you have a boring life and want to keep up with his life, which truthfully, is also fairly boring.