The first of two AFC Wildcard games this weekend matches up two NFC North teams that also happen to make up one of the best and possibly most physical rivalries in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. The two teams have met in this exact situation in the post season on three previous occasions with all three games being also held in Pittsburgh and all three games going in the Steelers favor. In the teams two meetings this season the teams split, each winning their own home game, including a Steelers win in November by the score of 43 to 23.
The Ravens are back in the playoffs this season for the fist time since the 2012 season where they went to and won the 2013 Superbowl over the 49ers. Baltimore, a team known for defense is no doubt still smarting from their previous match-up against the Steelers where Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 6 touchdowns. Helping sure up the Raven defense this weekend will be the return of defensive tackle Holoti Ngata who has missed the previous four weeks while serving a suspension for use of performance enhancing substances.
The Steelers will be hoping that Big Ben can continue to carry over his success that he has experienced during what was a career year for him in which he has thrown for 32 touchdowns and nearly 5.000 yards. He may in fact have to carry the day this week with the Steelers workhorse back Le'Veon Bell out this week with a knee injury. Bell has accounted for 2,215 yards of offense this season. Expected to pick up the slack will be the passing game and the NFL's leading wide receiver, Antonio Brown, who caught 129 balls for 1,698 yards this season.
- TV: NBC
- TIME: Saturday, January 3rd 8:15 PM EST
- LOCATION: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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