The Steelers are looking to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Sunday’s divisional round after losing to the AFC South champions 30-9 in Week 5. Since 2012, there have been 13 teams that faced an opponent in the playoffs that they’d lost to by 20 or more points in the regular season. Those teams went 1-12 in the postseason rematch, according to the NFL.
The only team to avenge this level of regular-season rout was the 2014 Ravens. They upset Pittsburgh 30-17 in a wild-card game at Heinz Field, nine weeks after the Ravens were blown out by the Steelers 43-23 on that same field.
“This is a very special victory for us, not just because it’s a playoff win,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after that victory on Jan. 3, 2015. “But because of who it comes against, which is our most respected rival.”
Whether it was 2014 with the Ravens or this season with the Jaguars, the biggest storyline is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Three seasons ago, the Steelers beat the Ravens by 20 points when Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes. In the playoffs that season, Baltimore won at Heinz by 13 points because it limited Roethlisberger to one touchdown and sacked him five times.
This season, Roethlisberger is looking to reverse his fortune in the playoff rematch. In the regular-season meeting, he was intercepted a career-high five times by the Jaguars.
Even though the Ravens are sitting out the playoffs for a third straight year, here are some Baltimore-centric notes from ESPN Stats & Information for this weekend’s playoff games:
The top-seeded Patriots, who play host to the Tennessee Titans, are trying to avoid being one-and-done in the playoffs for just the third time in the Bill Belichick era. Since 2001, the only times New England reached the postseason and failed to win at least one game was 2009 to the Ravens (a 33-14 win by Baltimore in the wild-card round) and 2010 to the New York Jets.
New England has won six straight home playoff games. The Patriots’ last postseason loss at Gillette Stadium was the 2012 AFC Championship Game against the Ravens. Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes in the second half in a 28-13 victory for Baltimore.
The Jaguars’ defense is ranked in the top two during the regular season in scoring defense, total defense, takeaways and sacks. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jacksonville is the third team since the 1970 merger to do that, joining the 1974 Steelers (won Super Bowl) and the 2006 Ravens (lost in the divisional round to the Colts despite not allowing a touchdown).
The New Orleans Saints, who play at the Minnesota Vikings, were plus-8 in turnover margin on the road in the regular season, which trailed only the Ravens. Baltimore had a plus-9 turnover ratio away from home.
Baltimore is in the midst of one of its longest playoff droughts. The Ravens have missed out on the playoffs in three straight years only twice in franchise history. The last time had been the Ravens’ first four seasons of existence (1996-99).