Sunday's game will be a bloodbath.
We've all seen the violence in recent Steelers-Ravens match-ups. Remember the Steelers' Super Bowl XVIII run during the 2008-09 season? The Steelers beat the Ravens twice in the regular season and again in the playoffs -- and if that playoff game wasn't the most violent football we've witnessed, the second regular-season game may well have been. Brutal. On both sides.
Maybe some of the Steelers-Raiders and Steelers-Browns match-ups in the 1970s compare. Probably. For all we know, the ghosts of Dwight White, Mike Webster and Fats Holmes are suiting up, pounding shoulder pads, butting heads and getting ready for the game on Sunday. They'll be watching intently, at the very least.
This Steelers-Ravens rivalry is different from, say, the Patriots-Jets, or the Bears-Packers, or any other in the NFL right now. It hearkens (hark!) back to the Ravens' roots as the transplanted Cleveland Browns, but at this point, it's gone way, way beyond that.
It's routinely and unabashedly violent to the -nth degree. And that's not to use the word "violent" lightly.
Joey Porter's Pit Bulls try to be careful with words, and (unlike the Ravens' Terrell Suggs) we try to avoid cliches. George Carlin did a classic stand-up routine where he mocked the loosely used metaphors and analogies commonly associated with football. He was right on, so we won't describe Sunday's game as "combat," "war," or "Armageddon."
We call it like we see it, without gaudy patter. This game will be Seriously Violent -- almost certainly more so than any other playoff game this year. That may be stating the obvious, but still ... it's what we've all signed up for.
It won't be war, or Armageddon, but it will be violent, in the extreme.
Having said that, we see the Steelers winning this game, and doing so handily. They're going to outscore the Ravens with quick strikes. It says here that this is not going to be the defensive slugfest everybody expects.
Yeah, it'll be a slugfest, but the Steelers will put up some points, and the Ravens won't be able to keep up. Then they'll get frustrated, take cheap shots, and the violence will escalate.
Feel free to mock us afterwards. If we're wrong, so be it. But that's how we see it.
There will be blood. It will be violent. And the Steelers will win.
Yeah, there's quiet confidence here -- not the sort of false bravado exhibited by cut-rate blowhards Terrell Thuggs and Rex Ryan, both of whom will exit the playoffs as losers on Sunday.
Footnote, for what it's worth -- a quote from Terrell Thuggs:
As it appears on ESPN.com:
When Suggs described Armageddon, he mentioned good vs. evil and when he was asked who was evil, he replied, "I don't know. I guess from your point of view that I am definitely evil."
"The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter."
-- Humphrey Bogart, as hardboiled detective Sam Spade, in The Maltese Falcon.
"Empty barrels make the most noise."
-- Chuck Noll, former coach of the Steelers, Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl champion.