The Pittsburgh Steelers just won the AFC North a week ago and now they have to turn back around and prove they deserved the division crown. They get to start the 2014 NFL Playoffs at Heinz Field, but they immediately have to defend their title against the division rival Baltimore Ravens, who will be out to prove they were the best team out of the division. That won’t be easy to do on the road, but the Ravens will enter as familiar foes and their eye on moving on to the second round.
This is the type of first round playoff clash fans dream about, as the Steelers and Ravens come together for a heated rivalry game with everything on the line. Steelers tickets on ScoreBig.com are understandably $212 on average ($77 to get in), which presents major value considering the magnitude of this game and the fact that it’s only a few dollars on top of their season average. Baltimore Ravens fans can find tickets at a rise of only $43 above their season average, which is still a solid deal for a massive playoff game.
The Steelers rebounded after missing the playoffs the past two years, going 11-5 to win the AFC North and earn a home game in the first round of the playoffs. They haven’t built this success off of their usual elite defense, instead riding Le’Veon Bell in the running game and also taking the top off of defenses in the passing game via Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. If they go far in the playoffs, it will likely be all on Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense.
With Bell dinged up (knee), the Steelers may walk into this meeting with their star rusher at less than 100% (if he plays at all), which could put them in a tough spot against an elite Ravens run defense. That run defense played a role in their first meeting, with Bell rushing for just 59 yards and Pittsburgh managing just six points in a blowout loss. The second meeting ended with Big Ben tossing six touchdowns and Bell enduring rough sledding yet again (20 yards on 10 carries). Needless to say, how Roethlisberger fares could decide which way this game goes. However, with this meeting in Pittsburgh, the Steelers could still enter with a slight edge.