Growing up in Baltimore for 24 years, going on 25, I watched the Ravens franchise grow from nothing to something. Even though I am die hard Cowboys fan, only because that was the first team I was introduced to, I always supported the home town team. One thing I love about the Ravens is how the team represents the city; blue-collar, hard nose, and gritty. The city shows strong passion for the Ravens, perfect example is the Purple Fridays during Football season. Sundays in the fall time around M&T Bank Stadium are like Saturdays at a big school. With that being said, if you never been to the city during football season, you'll never understand the passion this city has for the Ravens.
Ravens-Steelers always have a playoff vibe to it, so when they do meet in the playoff, both teams, and cities, treat it like a championship game. Joe Flacco and the Ravens finally won their first playoff game at Heinz Field, with one of his better performances, throwing for 259 yards and 2 TDs, he should have had 3 (DRAG THE TOE TORRY). In Flacco's last 5 postseason games, Flacco has thrown 13 TDs and 0 INTs. People have been very critical of Flacco during the regular for his inconsistency, myself being one of them, but when it comes to the playoffs, Flacco always come to play. Even though he doesn't put up the monster numbers, he plays mistake free football, which is all the Ravens need from him.
The defense statistically has been one of the best this season but there are some areas that need fixing, mainly the secondary. The front 7 on the other hand, has been the savior for this defense. To me, I think the way the front 7 played was the reason why the Ravens won this football game. Even though the offense played well, the pressure applied to Ben Rothelisberger made it hard for the Steelers to move the ball. Not to mention that they were not doubling Antonio Brown, which I thought was a mistake, but it didn't cost them. Brown did catch 9 passes for 117 yards but 0 TDs. The Ravens sacked Big Ben 5 times and hit him 5 times, even putting him out of the game for a few plays. I think in order for the Ravens to make it back to the Super Bowl, they will need Suggs, Dumervil, Ngata, and the rest of the front 7 to perform like this every game.
Even though the score signals that the Ravens won in an easy fashion, it was point during this game where it could have went the other way. Luckily, the Patriots doesn't have a receiver like Antonio Brown but they do have Rob Gronkowski. They will need to apply pressure to Tom Brady, who isn't as elusive in the Pocket like Big Ben, and I would suggest they double Gronk. As for the offense, continue to be balanced. The running game will need to be better since the Pats have two Pro-Bowl corners on the outside, passing the ball won't be that easy. The Ravens typically play well in Foxborough, so a win is not a longshot.