Saturday, November 28, 2009
Ravens finally catch a break
By James Walker
Whether it’s close losses, controversial penalties or injuries, the Baltimore Ravens haven’t caught many breaks during the 2009 season. But the Ravens received a huge boon Saturday when the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to sit starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for Sunday's game with the Ravens.
Dennis Dixon, who has been a third-stringer this year, will start for Pittsburgh. Backup quarterback Charlie Batch had wrist surgery this week, forcing Dixon into action.
Credit the Steelers for being cautious with their franchise quarterback, but this decision likely will cost the team a huge game in the standings. Both Pittsburgh (6-4) and Baltimore (5-5) are fighting for the two wild-card spots in the AFC.
Expect the Ravens to break their three-game losing streak against the Steelers. Roethlisberger has given Baltimore plenty of trouble with his improvisation and ability to keep plays alive. Dixon doesn’t have nearly that level of ability or experience, so the Steelers should be very one-dimensional on offense and easier to defend.
This is a must-win game for Baltimore, and Pittsburgh had a chance to virtually end its biggest rival's season with a win Sunday in prime time. But without "Big Ben," look for the Ravens to improve their wild-card hopes this weekend, while things will get very dicey after Pittsburgh likely suffers its first three-game losing streak of the season.