The Pittsburgh Steelers will face off against the Baltimore Ravens in a Thanksgiving Day NFL Thursday Night Football clash. This all-AFC North game could potentially have big implications on how the division turns out this season, with both of these teams currently tied in the middle of the standings chasing the Cincinnati Bengals. Tonight's big Thursday Night Football clash will start at 8.30 p.m. ET and can be watched online through free live stream (details below).
The Ravens and Steelers come into this game on 5-6 and are tied for second in the division. Meanwhile the Bengals are topping the AFC North on 7-4 and look the most likely candidate to take the division title.
The Ravens bounced back well from their Week 11 defeat to the Chicago Bears, and last weekend they shutdown the New York Jets at the M&T Bank Stadium, winning 19-3. That was the first of three straight home games for the Ravens, and they will be hoping to sweep this three game stretch to put themselves right back into the division title race.
Baltimore's Joe Flacco slammed his team's use of the Wildcat offense this week, and on Tuesday he told the Baltimore Sun, "I don't like that stuff. I think it makes you look like a high school offense."
He added, "I don't care how we use it in the game -- successful or not successful, after a big play, not after a big play. I don't care where it's used, I'm just not a huge fan of it. I'm the quarterback. I want to be behind the line of scrimmage. I want to be taking the snaps. That's really the only thing. I don't necessarily take it personally either in terms of our offense trying to get better. I just think it makes us look like not an NFL team."
Meanwhile, running back Ray Rice has told the Sun: "Joe can be voicing his opinion, but it's a wave that's going on in the NFL. It's not our everyday offense."
Most analysts believe that Flacco is himself in control of how much the team will be using that "high school" offense; if he gets back to playing at a Pro Bowl level, it is unlikely anyone will tinker or argue with him. However, his season so far has been far from his best.
Flacco is 238 of 403 for 2,742 yards and 14 touchdowns. At the moment the Ravens are ranked 19th and 27th in the NFL for pass and rush offense respectively, and they will want to see significant improvement if they are to get themselves back in the playoffs race.
The Steelers come into this game in good form; they have defeated the Detroit Lions 37-27 and the Cleveland Browns 27-11 in recent weeks, and they will be confident they can take down a lackluster Ravens team today.
The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger won the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November and if he can maintain his recent form then Pittsburgh will be confident to get themselves back up to .500 tonight.
Roethlisberger is 269 of 417 for 3,118 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Thursday Night Football between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens will start at 8.30 p.m. ET and can be watched on TV on the NBC network or online through free live stream by clicking here.