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Why Ravens fans shouldn't be happy with Tom Brady's suspension

Ravens fans should not be among the contingent who are pleased with Roger Goodell's decision to uphold New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension.

Some celebrated Tuesday because it was somewhat expected the NFL commissioner would reduce Brady's suspension for being what a league report called "generally aware" of the football-deflating scandal that became "Deflategate."

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The case is headed to court, but for now, the four-time Super Bowl champion is barred from playing the first four games of the regular season.

"It's fortunate that's not a Baltimore Ravens problem," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs told reporters on Wednesday.

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But, in a way, it is. It means when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Patriots on Sept. 10, Brady won't be there.

The AFC North is difficult to win each year, and the Steelers are often the biggest obstacle between the Ravens topping the division and earning an elusive home playoff game.

With the exception of 2013, when the Cincinnati Bengals took advantage of deeply flawed Ravens and Steelers teams and won the North by three games, no team has won the division by more than a single game during the John Harbaugh era in Baltimore.

The Steelers (11-5) won over the Bengals (10-6) and Ravens (10-6) last year, the 2012 Ravens (10-6) won a tiebreaker over the Bengals, the 2011 Ravens (12-4) won a tiebreaker over the Steelers, the 2010 Steelers (12-4) won a tiebreaker over the Ravens, the 2009 Bengals (10-6) bettered the Ravens (9-7) and the 2008 Steelers (12-4) were a game ahead of the Ravens (11-5).

So, while the Ravens gear up to face future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning when they play the Denver Broncos on Sept. 13, the Steelers will miss the Patriots' Canton-bound quarterback in Week 1, and gain a better opportunity to topple the defending Super Bowl champions.

It's a game that, when we look back in early January, might be the difference in which team won the AFC North.

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