Ravens vs. Steelers in classic AFC North Rivalry
Ravens vs. Steelers in classic AFC North Rivalry

It’s rivalry week! <crickets> Hello…it’s rivalry week…anyone, anyone? <crickets again> No smack talk, no jokes, nada…

It’s really rivalry week! The 3-3 Baltimore Ravens head to Pittsburgh to face their AFC North rival 1-4 Steelers on Sunday.

With one win this season Steelers fans don’t have a lot to chirp about and since the Ravens have their own issues to deal with; Ravens Nation isn’t in the position to talk smack. Regardless of their issues, both teams will show up and be ready to fight.

It is a must win for the Steelers who do not want to fall off the cliff with a 5-1 record. On the flip side, the Ravens do not want to lose to their rival; a loss to a team with one win would be truly embarrassing.

The defensive powerhouses have similar issues this season, struggling offensive lines and weak running games.

The Ravens hope to get their running game going this week; running back Ray Rice, who is having a career low this season, averaging 2.8 yards per carry, said there will be changes, but did not specify what we can expect to see:

“Without going into too much detail, you’ll just see a lot more of the changes on Sunday in terms of what we’re going to do,” Rice told reporters. “We’re running the same stuff – it just might be out of a different formation or something.”

To get the running game going, the offensive line must play better.

The Ravens defense has the advantage over the Steelers, but the Steelers are sure to step it up and do everything they can to stop the Ravens. The game will likely be a low scoring, defensive battle.

The Ravens had a tough time stopping Packers running back Eddie Lacy last week, will they be able to stop Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell?

The Ravens will be without inner linebacker Josh Bynes, ruled out with a finger infection.

Other notable injuries include defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, cornerback Lardarius Webb and linebacker Courtney Upshaw. All were limited in practice this week; questionable for Sunday.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley is not likely to play because of a thigh injury.

The Ravens may see linebacker Jameel McClain return to the field. McClain was cleared to play after missing the last 10 months with a spinal contusion. He practiced this week, probable for Sunday.

Truth be told I miss the smack talk, not by me, by others. It can be quite entertaining and I miss it, perhaps it will resume closer to kickoff…

I don’t know what to expect in this game. The defense will show up, but what about the offense? Each week I hope that the Ravens get it together and each week I see some progress, then they fall flat.

This is the best rivalry in the National Football League. I only hope that the Ravens come home with a “W”. I am keeping the faith…

By MelissaRubin

Self-proclaimed sports junkie. Lifelong Baltimore sports fan residing in DC. Baltimore Ravens are my favorite team, I'm a die-hard fan and in constant need of a football fix. Baltimore Orioles and Washington Capitals fan too. Follow her on Twitter @egoddess1