Will Ben Roethlisberger play? Will he not? The general feeling seems to be that he won't, but that it won't matter either way. The Ravens have won 15 straight home games, and the national media expect that streak to continue against the Steelers, which, incidentally, are the last team to beat the Ravens in Baltimore.
Here is how some of the national media see Sunday's game:
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Ravens 19, Steelers 13
"With or without Ben Roethlisberger, the Ravens are tough to beat at home. And even though it would be fitting for the Steelers to win in Baltimore after the Ravens won in Pittsburgh, the Ravens are the better team — and the Steelers are on the verge of a late-season implosion. All that’s left is for coach Mike Tomlin to vow to “unleash hell.”."
Elliott Harrison, NFL.com: Ravens 23, Steelers 20
"If Ben Roethlisberger can't go, Charlie Batch has to show some ability, any ability, to get the ball vertical on the Baltimore Ravens, or it will be another "L" for his Pittsburgh Steelers. Jonathan Dwyer will get the start, but neither he nor his mates in the Steelers' committee backfield will have a chance to exploit what's been an ineffective run defense. Love him or hate him, Joe Flacco has been lights-out at home. Hopefully someone on the Steelers will be able to tackle Ray Rice on fourth-and-long, should the game come to that."
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Ravens 20, Steelers 16
"Unfortunately for the Steelers, they may need to play two games in three weeks against their hated AFC North archrivals without Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers will have limited confidence playing with backup quarterback Charlie Batch in Baltimore—especially with other parts of their offense struggling, too. On the other side, the Ravens realize this is Ray Rice's time of the season, and they will feed him often to seal the win.. "
Peter King, SI.com: Ravens 27, Steelers 13
"I can't see Ben Roethlisberger playing; that dislocated-first-rib injury is just too serious to see him playing after 20 days. Talking to Terrell Suggs after the first game a couple of weeks ago, he almost seemed melancholy to be playing Pittsburgh without Big Ben. I do believe, however, the Ravens would prefer a melancholy win over a loss to enriched Pittsburgh."
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: Ravens 17, Steelers 13
"It doesn't look like Ben Roethlisberger will go for the Steelers here, which means they face a tough task to win on the road. Charlie Batch was bad last week. Baltimore's offense hasn't exactly lit things up, so this might be another Ravens-Steelers punt-fest."
Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com: Ravens 24, Steelers 16
" "Fourth-and-29” will join “The hay is in the barn!” and “Ball So Hard University” as mainstays in Ravens fan lingo for years to come. The most amazing part of Ray Rice’s 29-yard catch and scamper last Sunday wasn’t Anquan Boldin’s bone-crushing block or Rice’s elusive moves — it was the fact Joe Flacco threw a 2-yard check down pass on fourth-and-29! These Ravens aren’t as dominant as their 9-2 record reveals and they’re not nearly the same defensive team they once were. But they’re winning games. And that’s all that matters. A second straight season sweep of the Steelers? It sure looks like it to me."
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Ravens 23, Steelers 7
"The Steelers need this one, but they’re not going to get it. Without Ben Roethlisberger the Steelers just aren’t a very good team, and I expect the Ravens to earn a big win that helps them pull away in the AFC North."