10/6/19 Steelers vs. Ravens
The Ravens head to the Steel City Sunday to take on their arch rival. Steeler week typically provides a lot of excitement leading up to the game which often includes player comments, fan excitement, and pundits giving their expert opinions on the game, but this game will not have Suggs or Big Ben which for me makes it a little less interesting. To be sure though, the Steelers and the Ravens can’t stand each other and it has been long rumored that Tomlin can’t’ stand Harbaugh. Both teams will be amped up for the game and the fans will be enthusiastically waving their yellow towels. The stadium will be loud and proud creating difficulty for the Ravens offense. Lamar will have to make some big plays to help quiet the fans and take them out of the equation.
The Ravens are coming off a two-game skid where the defense has given up over a thousand yards and 73 points. The defense is ranked 27th overall in the league and 30th against the pass. It is clear that the Ravens don’t have the personnel to compete at the level that they did last year but if they are going to have any chance to succeed, they will have to improve from where they stand today. One thing that can be corrected, and I hope that it shows up this week – is their tackling. Technique and fundamentals can always be improved no matter who you are working with – so let’s hope Wink is getting that point across to his defense. The Ravens despite their losses to KC and Cleveland are still very much in control of their season. Wins Sunday in Pittsburg and next week at home against the Bengals would put them at four and two as well as a winning record in the division. It is all about winning the games that you are supposed to and that beings this Sunday. Ravens don’t want to lose three in a row and two straight in the AFC North, while on the other side the Steelers certainly do not want to lose at home and be sitting at one and four. If the Steelers lose Sunday it is hard to imagine they have any chance at the post season – and they know that. I know that it is only game five of the seasons but these games are setting up to be very important for both teams.
The Steelers are coming off a dominating win over the Cincinnati Bengals where they sacked Dalton eight times in the game. The Steelers defense looked fast and physical and Devin Bush, there first round pick at a number 10, is proving every bit as special as they thought he would be. With the Steelers very talented front four, Bush is able to roam freely making splash plays on a regular basis. Mason Rudolph, who took over at QB when Ben blew out his elbow, has played ok so far given his inexperience. The Steelers are running the ball a lot to help out Mason and no question they will work to establish the run on Sunday. If you watched the Steelers/Bengals game this past Monday you saw how creative the Steelers were in their run attack – using wild cat formations, receiver sweeps and various backfield alignments. I think you will see more of this against the Ravens.
Most years when I write about the Ravens going into Heinz Field, I don’t usually pick the Ravens to win. The Steelers are very good at home and have the benefit of playing to a packed stadium. That said, without Ben behind center it changes the dynamics of the game. Also, the Ravens have been able to run effectively this year and if the Steelers put 8 or even 10 in the box to stop the run, they you would hope that the offense could exploit them with quick slants, screens and crossing routes. In faith, I am going to say that the Ravens defense plays better Sunday and that they learned something over the past weeks. If that comes to fruition the Ravens should be able to contain Mason and the Steelers offense. Interestingly enough the odds makers have the Ravens by 3 ½ which indicates that they don’t believe in Mason being able to score enough to win. I can’t remember the last time the Ravens were favored in Pittsburgh. The Ravens will stop the skid and get the win in Pittsburg and at 3 ½ I think they cover. The over/under is 44.5 – I like the under here. Coaches Wink and Roman need to call a good game and respond to in-game circumstances – if they do this game goes purple. Enjoy the game and stay thirsty my friends.
Special Note: My schedule this Sunday will preclude me from watching the game live so my post-game recap will be days later if done at all.
Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Baltimore Ravens – Sunday – October 4th @ 1:00 PM Odds – Ravens by 3 ½ Over/Under 44.5
Score Ravens 24 Steelers 20
Turnovers Minus 1
Net Rushing Yardage Ravens 134 Steelers 121
Net Passing Yardage Ravens 267 Steelers 233
• Kevin Bush leads all tacklers with 9
• Lamar is sacked 3 times
• Harbaugh goes for two at least once
• Refs make terrible calls
Keys to the Game
- Ravens TOP north of 34 minutes
- Stop the Run < 75 yards
- Get pressure on Mason
- DO NOT give up big plays