Ever taken the trash outside in the heat of summer and when you lift the lid a foul and putrid smell wafts up into the air assaulting your nostrils. And in response you quickly toss the bag in – shutting the lid – hoping to minimize the stench in the air, and as you walk away you are painfully aware that this horrendous smell lingers in your nose. That’s exactly how I feel right now as I share my thoughts for the upcoming game with the Steelers. It is hard to put that Jags game out of my memory, and I fear that this may be the case for some of the Ravens players as well. A poor performance like that has to shake your confidence and while you would like to name the many reasons for this (jet lag, new field, new surroundings …) you can’t explain losing by 37 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars. There aren’t enough reasons to get there!
So here we are a few days away from taking on our divisional rival Steelers. Typically the media sports shows would be flooded with comments about the game and what to expect for Steeler week, but this week it is all about the “knee”. I personally look forward to the day when we get back to the game, but I suspect the media will keep this up front and center for some time to come. I however will move on. Last Sunday the Steelers lost in overtime to the Bears, a team that they should have beaten – but came up short in OT. Their run defense looked poor and their offense was not firing on all cylinders. That said, the Steelers have some great skill players on the offensive side of the ball and quite frankly they have more talent than the Ravens. Offensively you have to give a big edge to the Steelers. Coach Harbaugh and the Ravens have a lot to prove this week. You can say all you want about bouncing back, correcting mistakes, and turning things around – but unless you show it on the field and in your game planning it doesn’t mean much. Talk is cheap, good whiskey costs money. The good news is – this week we are at home which should bring better play from Flacco and provide some extra incentive for the team to perform.
Here is the good, the bad and the ugly for this week’s game
- The Good – Home game, running game ranked 4th, Steelers bring out our best, 12th fan, and games typically close
- The Bad – No Urban (foot surgery), Brandon (?), confidence shaken, injuries mounting, Antonio Brown owns the Ravens, Steelers 2nd in sacks, and Ravens O line is awful
- The Ugly – Ravens rank dead last in the league in passing yards at 134 ypg, Buffalo who ranks 31st averages 187 ypg – so we own last place by a margin of 53 ypg. Ravens also rank dead last in yards per game.
These contests are typically very close and most games are decided by 3 points or less. If not for last week’s debacle, the Ravens may have been the favorites this week, but the odds makers wisely have the Steelers by 3, and I think they will cover. The Ravens offense needs to come out fast and determined. Mornhinweg needs to game plan around a subpar O line and give Flacco some protection with “stay at home” tight ends and blocking backs. Defense needs to play within themselves and avoid over pursuit – if they don’t you will see Bell have a career day both on the ground and on screen plays out in the flat. Coach Pees needs to dial up some blitz schemes that get Big Ben some hits otherwise it will put too much pressure on our coverage teams. In spite of all my negative comments today, the Ravens are still sitting at the top of the AFC North and can maintain that spot with a win on Sunday. I hope I am wrong with my predictions this week and that things do in fact bounce back for the Ravens. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.
Pittsburgh Steelers hosted by the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday – October 1st @ 1:00 PM Odds – Steelers by 3
|Net Rushing Yardage||Ravens||111||Steelers||125|
|Net Passing Yardage||Ravens||182||Steelers||249|
- Alex Collins leads the Ravens run game with 14 carries/81 yds
- Bell carries for 18 carries/116 yds
- Flacco’s streak of games with an interception continues at 10
- Refs make terrible calls
Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
Ravens lose another to the IR in loss to Steelers
Flacco’s rebounds this week but comes up short
Keys to the Game
- Contain Brown/Bell/Bryant and don’t give up big plays
- Establish the run game and set up the play action
- Win the turnover battle by plus 2 or better
Special Bonus – If you haven’t see this bone head play by the Bears Marcus Cooper you will have to take a look.
HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN!?!??!pic.twitter.com/c5xqfd00uX
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 24, 2017