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Prediction Thursday/Friday: Ravens-Steelers

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. And happy holidays to everyone else.

We are shutting the bar down for a few days, since I doubt many of you are going to stop by here when you have presents to open and homemade eggnog to swig.

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But we can't go dark without first discussing Sunday's game. My buddy Peter Schmuck made a point this week to say that Sunday's game in Pittsburgh is not a must-win situation for the Ravens.

Technically, he is right. They can still get into the playoffs without winning Sunday – they'd need help, but it is possible.

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But we all know football is so much about momentum and confidence. The Ravens appear to have both right now. But, as we chatted earlier in the week, their modest two-game win streak has come against Detroit and Chicago – games they should have won.

Sunday's no such gimme, even though these Steelers aren't the Steelers of 2008-09. Pittsburgh's defense has struggled and its offensive line is not playing well.

These are still the Steelers, however and they still have a remote chance to make the playoffs. And even if they can't, this is their Super Bowl now: Beating the Ravens and severely hampering their rival's postseason chances.

So this is a difficult one to predict. Since the Ravens have been so enigmatic this year, because they have had trouble against good quarterbacks and because the Steelers have all but abandoned the run and put the full responsibility of winning on Ben Roethlisberger's capable shoulders, it's not a good matchup for the Ravens.

That said, this is the Ravens' season. Even if they back into the playoffs, their confidence and the momentum will be severely altered.

I say the Ravens pull it out, 24-21, on a Joe Flacco to Todd Heap touchdown inside two minutes. They then pick off Roethlisberger on a desperation heave. Flacco is the hero with three touchdowns.

Although, let me add, I can easily see it go the other way.

As always, predict the score and player of the game in Sunday's Ravens-Steelers clash.

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Daily Think Special: Prediction Friday/Thursday: Ravens-Steelers.


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