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Steelers, Ravens face formidable tests this week

December 15, 2011
By RICH GIBSON - Times Leader Sports Writer (rgibson@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

They're both 10-3 with one noticeable exception.

Baltimore's Ravens own two victories against the Steelers should the AFC rivals finish with identical regular season marks.

It's not out of the question something could happen this weekend to change the equation with Baltimore playing a Sunday night game at San Diego and Pittsburgh vying at San Francisco in the Monday nighter.

Two other AFC teams (New England, Houston) have 10-3 marks, thus all are playing for postseason positioning. Green Bay, at 13-0, remains alone at the top and seemingly in line to achieve a 16-0 regular season.

Despite absorbing a couple unexpected illegal hits, we managed an 11-5 mark and have been cleared for action again this week...as early as tonight.

THURSDAY NIGHT

JACKSONVILLE AT ATLANTA. Falcons move closer to securing playoff berth with win tonight in the Georgia Dome. Falcons, 27-17.

SATURDAY GAME

DALLAS AT TAMPA BAY. Jerry Jones may be one more gaffe from experiencing the mother of all meltdowns in his stadium suite location. That doesn't seem likely here. Cowboys, 35-20.

SUNDAY GAMES

WASHINGTON AT NEW YORK GIANTS. NFC East race appears headed towards New Year's Day rematch between G-men and Dallas. Giants, 24-17.

MIAMI AT BUFFALO. Hard to believe Bills were once 4-1. They need this win to avoid dropping into AFC East cellar. Bills, 30-13.

TENNESSEE AT INDIANAPOLIS. Time running out for Colts to avoid winless season. Titans obviously still in postseason hunt. Titans, 23-20.

SEATTLE AT CHICAGO. A must-win scenario for both, particularly Bears who managed to implode last week in Denver. Bears, 21-17.

CINCINNATI AT ST. LOUIS. There can't be much fight left in Cincy which no longer controls its postseason destiny. In the Upset Special. Rams, 20-17.

NEW ORLEANS AT MINNESOTA. Saints have run off five straight wins since being upset by Rams. They should make it six Sunday. Saints, 31-21.

GREEN BAY AT KANSAS CITY. Doubt that coaching change is enough to make any difference in this outcome. Packers, 33-17.

CAROLINA AT HOUSTON. Entertainment value should be high in this battle of rookie QBs. Texans, 38-28.

DETROIT AT OAKLAND. Plenty at stake in this inter-conference matchup. Can Raider Nation make a difference? Raiders, 17-14.

NEW YORK JETS AT PHILADELPHIA. Just when it appeared Jets were dressed for postseason success, they find a way to lose on the road. Eagles, 27-23.

NEW ENGLAND AT DENVER. The weekend's most-viewed game with Brady and Pats temporarily solving the Tebow factor. Patriots, 28-17.

CLEVELAND AT ARIZONA. Redbirds' long climb to .500 finally comes to fruition vs. free-falling Brownies. Cardinals, 20-10.

SUNDAY NIGHT

BALTIMORE AT SAN DIEGO. Little doubt whom the better team is here. Ravens seem primed for extended postseason stay. Ravens, 24-7.

MONDAY NIGHT

PITTSBURGH AT SAN FRANCISCO. Niners' loss last week at Arizona comes back to bite Big Ben and company who must settle for potential 12-4 wild card status. 49ers, 24-20.

LAST WEEK (11-5). SEASON (129-78). UPSET SPECIALS (2-11).

Gibson may be reached at rgibson@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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