There's three and televised games available for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 28 with the nightcap game featuring two AFC opponents with no love lost between them. As many individuals will be waiting in lines for Black Friday sales and deals Thursday night, others will be watching the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens clash on the field. The latest of the televised and arrives courtesy of NBC and NBC Sports.
According to a Nov. 28 report from , the AFC North's Ravens are currently 5-6 overall, while the Steelers are also 5-6. The two teams have been among AFC playoff teams and Super Bowl contenders over the past several seasons, thanks to strong defenses and quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco, but this year has been a struggle for both teams due to injuries and personnel changes. However, the two teams both have a shot at the playoffs with a win tonight, whereas the winner may have their postseason hopes crushed. Players to watch in tonight's game will be Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith and Ray Rice of the Ravens, as well as Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown of the Steelers. Which quarterback will have more success tonight, or will one defense limit the other team's chances more?
The Ravens enter this game with a 4-1 record at home, and sitting in a tie with the Steelers for second place in the AFC North behind the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals (7-4). Baltimore is currently just outside the top ten for both passing and rushing defense, as they rank 11th in each, holding opponents to 226.4 passing yards per game and 102.6 rushing yards per game. They're coming off a win just four days ago against the Jets, 19-3 at home, and will look to get their second two-game win streak of the season.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are ranked eighth in passing yards thanks to Big Ben, as they average 262.2 yards per game. Their pass defense is also stellar, ranked just a notch above Baltimore's, with the Steelers allowing only 224.4 passing yards a game. They may be exposed when it comes to their rush defense, as they rank 23rd and allow 118.8 yards per game on the ground to opponents. However, the rivalry seems to always bring out the best in both of these teams, making it tough to know what to expect. Most of their recent meetings were decided by just a few points.
Baltimore's Ray Rice is having a tougher season this time around, averaging just 2.9 yards per game, the lowest of his career. He's racked up 450 yards on 156 attempts and has scored four touchdowns for the team, but could look for a big game against Pittsburgh Thursday night. An discussion of the game indicated that this season six other running backs have had at least 70 yard performances against Pittsburgh, and question whether Rice might be the next to get that stat as well.
Tonight's game has major playoff implications between these rivals, as the winning team will move even closer to the Cincinnati Bengals and also get closer to a potential AFC wild-card spot for the postseason. Currently, odds makers have the home team Ravens favored by 3 points over the Steelers. The over/under points total for tonight's game is at 45 points. Weather is expected to be clear but cold, with a kickoff temperature around 29 degrees and a wind chill of 24.
Thursday night's Steelers vs. Ravens game has a televised start time of 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The game will be presented in standard and hi-definition on NBC and local affiliate stations around the country. In addition, tonight's game will be offered live streaming online. Many sports fans around the nation can watch the live internet feed through website starting at 8:00 p.m. EST. The website provides multiple perspectives of the game from each of the two teams in addition to other interactive features, stats and social media.