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Sunday Night Football Open Thread: Ravens, Steelers Provide Preview For 49ers

The 49ers improved to 7-1 earlier today with a 19-11 victory over the Washington Redskins. As the 49ers head into the second half of their schedule, it presents quite the dichotomy. On the one hand, the 49ers host the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers while also traveling to Baltimore on Thanksgiving. On the other hand, the 49ers remaining games include five divisional games.

We had an afternoon game thread focusing on the second half of the Giants-Pats game, so it only makes sense to have a Sunday Night Football thread for a game featuring two 49ers second half opponents. The 49ers travel to face the Ravens on Thanksgiving and host the Steelers December 19 on Monday Night Football.

The 49ers will have plenty of work to do in their five divisional games, but these three non-divisional games will give us a better idea of if the 49ers are contenders or pretenders heading into January. The Ravens bring a great defense, a great running game and some question marks in the passing game (ring any bells?). The Steelers have had a a strong resurgence after a touch and go start and now find themselves battling for the number one seed in the AFC. Of course, they are also battling the Cincinnati Bengals to actually win the division, so plenty of wins needed.

The Steelers are a three point favorite, which given their home status basically makes this an even matchup. What I would most like to see is how Joe Flacco responds to the Steelers defensive pressure. The Steelers are without LaMarr Woodley though, so Flacco might get a bit of a reprieve. Woodley has nine of the Steelers 20 sacks.

What will you be looking for during this game? I have Pittsburgh winning this one going away at home, but without Woodley I'm not quite so sure the Ravens offense gets blown up. Any predictions?