Over the last decade, few NFL rivalries have matched the one seen between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The division rivals are constantly fighting for the American Football Conference North crown and playoff spots with 2012 being no different. Both squads now do battle this Sunday, 19 November, at 8.20pm on NBC.
A traditionally proud defensive unit, 7-2 Baltimore have been ravaged by injuries to the likes of Ray Lewis. The 27th-ranked defence has needed help from quarterback Joe Flacco, who has propelled the Ravens to rank 16th in offence and 13th in passing.
Injuries have also impacted the 6-3 Steelers, but Troy Polamalu’s absence has not stalled the league’s top defence. The 17th-ranked offence is led by Ben Roethlisberger and an 11th-ranked passing attack.
Usually a war of field position, expect injuries to decide Sunday’s outcome. Roethlisberger’s status is questionable with a bum shoulder. Whether or not Big Ben plays, Baltimore should ride Ray Rice’s running assault to win by a field goal.
Two other rivalries are on display this Sunday. The 6-3 Green Bay Packers face the 4-5 Detroit Lions at 1pm on Fox and the 6-3 Indianapolis Colts battle the 6-3 New England Patriots at 4.25pm on CBS. The Packers-Lions game is essentially a quarterback duel between Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, which Rodgers should win by 10 points.
The Colts and Patriots should light up the scoreboard too with both defences being mediocre. Another Indianapolis upset, orchestrated by Andrew Luck, seems likely but the smart choice is Tom Brady throwing for over 300 yards in a nine-point win.
Cayman fans should note that the 4-5 Miami Dolphins battle the 3-6 Buffalo Bills on Thursday, 15 November, at 8.20pm on NFL Network. Ryan Tannehill should torch the league’s worst defence to end Miami’s two-game losing streak via a 14-point victory.