Smash Mouth Bowl 2010 Winner in the AFC Championship Game?
The Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers will play this Sunday in the first-ever "Smash Mouth Bowl 2010."
Both teams come into the game with the same 8-3 record. The Ravens have the upper-hand by winning the first game in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Baltimore beat a Ben-less Steelers who was serving a 4-game suspension for violating the leagues personal conduct policy.
Pittsburgh would be making a bold statement by coming into Baltimore and winning on the Ravens home turf to even the season-series at one a piece. The Steelers are coming off a game vs. Buffalo that they were lucky to win (Steve Johnson's 40-yard touchdown drop in OT). This would be a bigger win for them than the Ravens.
The Steelers have 3 of their 4 remaining games vs. teams with sub .500 records (Bengals 2-9, Panthers 1-10, and Browns 4-7). Pittsburgh has a December 19th home game vs. the New York Jets 9-2. The Jets played the Colts in the AFC Championship game last season. Their only road game after the Ravens in the "Smash Mouth Bowl" is the last game of the season at Cleveland.
Baltimore has the advantage of playing at home where they are on a franchise tying 8-game home win streak. To beat the Steelers in the "Smash Mouth Bowl" and set a new franchise home win streak will give the Ravens some serious momentum going into the last quarter of the season. 3 out of 4 of their remaining regular-season games will be against teams with losing records (Texans 5-6, Browns 4-7, and Bengals 2-9). They have a home-game December 19th vs. the defending World Champion New Orleans Saints 8-3.
Ray Lewis the newly nicknamed "Raytorious L52" and the Ravens defense will be looking to knock out the Steelers early and send a message "not in my house."
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has a chance to take that next step and become a championship caliber QB. This is the type of game that elevates a player and Flacco has a chance to do it in his own backyard. If he wants to be mentioned as top-tier signal caller he has to step up and win this game vs. the Steelers. Flacco lost to Pittsburgh 2 years ago as a rookie in the AFC Championship.
Ben Roethlisberger is like hip-hop legendary producer and rapper Dr. Dre, "been there done that. " Ben makes the big plays in big games and will be up to challenge Sunday. He's nicked up with a bad ankle but will be ready for the heavyweight showdown.
The winner of "Smash Mouth Bowl 2010" has an inside track to a first-round playoff bye and possible trip to the AFC Championship. The next game after that could be in Big D for Super Bowl XLV.