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9/30/18 Steelers Pregame

The Ravens/Steelers game Sunday night is definitely shaping up to be an interesting game and by the numbers the Ravens should have a decent chance to get a road victory. The Ravens offense looks better than it has in several years and they finally have some skill players than can catch the ball and move the chains. The Ravens have done a great job spreading the ball around which gives opponents a more difficult time game planning. The Ravens success in the red zone (12 straight TDs) is impressive and makes them a formidable opponent if they can keep that up. Sunday’s game is likely to be high scorning much like last December’s game when the Ravens lost 39 to 38 in the final minute of the game. You remember, don’t you? When the defense folded like a lawn chair in the last 5 minute of the game and gave up a 10-point lead. I’ll move on.

Here is a special treat for those of you that missed the Steelers/Bucs game where Big Ben does a flop when the Bucs defender touches his helmet. The hit was very minor but the flag was still thrown.

Ben Roethlisberger Flops After Bucs Defender Touches His Helmet And Draws Penalty

While three games of stats are not conclusive it does however begin to point to some of the strengths and weaknesses of a team and how they are trending. Here are some of the comparisons that are worth noting:

Defense – Steelers are ranked 29th / Ravens are ranked 1st
Personally, I don’t expect the Ravens will be a top 5 defense by week 16 but I do think they will be top 10. Likewise, I expect the Steelers to improve and move up the statistical ranks throughout the year and end up in the middle of the pack. All this said, the Ravens are the better team defensively and the Steelers look terrible right now, especially in coverage. If Flacco is smart and throwing well he should be able to shred this secondary and have a 300+ yards game. Edge to the Ravens.

Offense – Steelers are ranked 2nd / Ravens are ranked 13th
The Steelers with the weapons that they have are a proven scoring machine and they will remain in the upper echelon of the league offenses all year. The Ravens, if they remain healthy, will likely finish in the top 10 especially if they continue to work on improving their running game. While the Ravens don’t quite have the fire power of the Steelers they do have enough weapons to hang in there with the black and gold. Edge to the Steelers.

Special Teams
Tucker is 5 of 6 with his only miss due to a block and is perfect on extra points. He is 3 for 3 over 50 yds.
Chris Boswell is 1 of 4 and has missed two extra points. He is 0 for 3 over 40 yards.
Sam Koch is ranked 2nd in the league for average distance and Jordan Berry is ranked 26th.
The Ravens have had some problems this year with their blocking scheme as they have had 3 blocks already this season. You have to think that Coach Rosburg who is one of the best at what he does will have that fixed pronto. Even with those blocking issues the edge goes to the Ravens.

Anything that I would say here would be so subjective that it would lack credibility, but I will make this point – right now the Steelers lead the league in penalties and that typically points to lack of discipline. Also, last week you had Antonio Brown not showing up for work on Monday but he still played that Sunday which makes you wonder a little what is going on in that club house.

Where does all this leave us for Sunday? First, this is an intra division rivalry game which always produces maximum effort from both teams, and all the more when you play in the national spotlight. Pittsburgh’s defense, while statistically awful, will likely play better, and you can be certain that Coach Butler will bring the house to Flacco especially early in the game. If you get to Flacco early he typically has trouble getting in rhythm. Hopefully Coach Mornhinweg is planning short drops to counter this. The Steelers are an offensive juggernaut and as good as the Ravens defense looks right now – they are not going to stop Ben and that offense from scoring. Ben plays exceptionally well at home and unfortunately Joe tends to struggle on the road. The Steelers are historically dominant at home, rarely losing, and that stadium is going to be deafening when the Ravens are on the field. I expect the Ravens to burn at least two time outs due to crowd noise just so they can get plays called in. If Jimmy Smith were playing this week I would like our chances more, but in the end I think the Steelers offense at home is going to be a little too much for the Ravens to overcome. The odds makers have the Steelers by 3 with a 51 point over/under. Steelers should cover this one and I would bet over on the points. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.

Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday – September 30th @ 8:20 PM Odds – Steelers by 3 Over/Under 51

Game Predictions
Score         Ravens 24           Steelers 30
Turnovers         Minus 2
Net Rushing Yardage         Ravens 84           Steelers 98
Net Passing Yardage          Ravens 302           Steelers 343

Miscellaneous Predictions
• Alex Collins leads the Ravens run game with 18 carries/70 yds
• A. Brown gets 10 receptions for 146 yards, and 1 TD
• Ravens tight ends combine for 12 catches and 133 yards
• Refs make terrible calls

Possible Monday morning headlines in the Sun Papers
• Ravens come up short in the Sling Fest

Keys to the Game
• Contain Brown/JuJu and don’t give up big plays
• Get Big Ben to the ground – without the flag
• Win the turnover battle

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