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Thursday, December 2, 2010
Take your pick recap: Ravens vs. Steelers

By James Walker
ESPN.com

This week's "Take your pick" focused on the biggest game of the year in the AFC North.

Who will win Sunday night's battle between the Baltimore Ravens (8-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)?

Here are the responses from our division inbox and AFC North Twitter page:

Steelers get revenge!

R. Lewis from San Francisco writes: It will be UGLY, and brutal. But my Steelers pull out the win in the last quarter. This is going to be one of the best games of the year, for sure. Steelers 20, Ravens 17.

B_rob99 via Twitter writes: Steelers. If your D can't stop Peyton Hillis or Mike Goodson, it definitely can't stop Rashard Mendenhall.”

Alfy_06 via Twitter writes: How could anyone in a quarterback league think that Ed Reed means more than Ben Roethlisberger? Steelers, 31-20.

Ryan from Marion, Iowa, writes: I'm picking the Steelers 20, Ravens 17. These two teams beat each other up and always play close games. Both defenses have some weakness when it comes to the passing game. I give this edge to the Steelers offense over Baltimore's. Neither team will run very well and field goals may be the main scoring here.

Mike from Ewa Beach, HI, writes: Somehow, some way the Steelers will beat the Ravens if/when (I hope!) Ben plays. He'll make some clutch plays, hopefully the kicker Shuan Suisham will come through and we have the better defense. Troy Polamalu is whacko Flacko's kryptonite! Mike Wallace will torch the secondary a few times and Miller/Hines will come through in the run game and short/intermediate routes. Woodley might be going up against a second or third string RT and should have a field day! Steelers win, 24-16!

IanRussian via Twitter writes: Steelers, 27-17. Steelers almost won with a third-string Charlie Batch in Week 4. Two-time SB champ Roethlisberger wins it.

Ravens protect their house!

Fred Goldstein from Scottsdale, AZ, writes: Looking back at the whole season as well as strengths and weaknesses I believe the Ravens have the advantage. The home field advantage plays in, but most important, the Ravens’ offense is more versatile with more weapons and the Ravens’ defense can handle a mediocre Pittsburgh offense. This is the Ravens year for the AFC North.

Ryan from Baltimore writes: Tired of hearing the Steelers lost because Ben wasn't playing. Does Ben play Defense? Because that's who the Ravens beat on the final drive of the game. Oh, by the way Ed Reed was out of that game as well. Don't hear anyone talking about that. Ravens, 17-9.

JROX10 via Twitter writes: The Ravens will take this one. They will hold Rashard Mendenhall under 90, and without Holmes the WR corps is nothing special.

Flyskimmy via Twitter writes: Ravens are 17-4 and eight in a row at home under Harbaugh/Flacco.

Craverman from Northern Ohio writes: I'm a huge Steelers fan, but I gotta pick the Ravens to win Sunday night. The Steelers are just too inconsistent right now, plus the referees seem to have it out for them. Hope I'm wrong though!

Brandon Crawford from Sykesville, Md. writes: This game all depends on which Steeler team shows up. Will it be the team that showed up against Tampa Bay and Oakland? Or will it be the team that showed up against New England and Buffalo? Either way the Ravens are at home, which should be enough of a deciding factor to sneak a win out in the end.

AFC North Anti-Homer of the Week

Ben from Pensacola, FL, writes: I remember the first game in Pittsburgh very well. The Steelers got absolutely no pressure on Joe Flacco at all and he had a pretty solid game. Unless that changes, the Steelers don't stand much of a chance, because their offense is pathetic. I love them to death, but there is NO excuse for putting up a pitiful 19 points against arguably the worst defense in football. How do they expect to score on the Ravens playing like that? I'll take the Ravens in a 34-3 blowout.

(Wow.)

AFC North Final Say

James Walker: Well, the cat is already out of the bag on this one. I made an early prediction Wednesday that the Ravens will win this game, 20-17. It appears Baltimore has found its groove and is peaking at the right time, while Pittsburgh is still trying to find its way, particularly on offense. The Steelers also have been very sloppy lately with penalties, and I'm not sure everything can be cleaned in one week. Both teams will make the playoffs and have a say in who represents the AFC in the Super Bowl. But right now the Ravens are more in sync.