Ravens vs. Steelers: Week 11 Preview

| November 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

Baltimore Ravens (7-2)


Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)

Sunday 8:20pm, Hines Field, Pittsburgh, PA

There are not enough adjectives in the English language that describe how much hatred there is between Ravens and Steelers fans. The passion both fan bases have for their team is like no other (although the Steelers do have quite a few bandwagon jumpers), making this the best rivalry in the NFL and maybe the best in sports. The main reason this rivalry has been so good is because both teams have been successful for pretty much the entire last decade. Once again these teams are two of the best in the NFL and this game could end up deciding who gets a first round playoff bye and who does not.

Here is my take on the game:

Ravens offense vs. Steelers defense:

The Steelers come into this game boasting the number one ranked defense statistically in the NFL and the Ravens offense will likely play right into the Steelers hands with conservative play calling. The way to beat the Steelers is to spread them out and run up tempo, no huddle offense, which will limit their pass rush and stop them from making substitutions. The Steelers have been without Troy Polamalu for the last five games and could be without Ryan Clark, which means their secondary will be significantly weaker. The Ravens have the speed to exploit this. Unfortunately, too many times we have seen conservative offense from the Ravens on the road and failure to use their weapons. Maybe Cam Cameron should watch the game tape from Week 1 last year and use a similar game plan.  Ed Dickson, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones can all take the top off the defense – I just hope they are used properly, but my guess is they won’t be.

Advantage: Steelers

Steelers offense vs. Ravens defense:

This would be an absolute no brainer as to where the advantage lies if Ben Roethlisberger was playing, but since he is not this becomes more of intriguing matchup. Byron Leftwich will be under center and if there is anyone who can tell me what team he played on and what year he made his last start without looking it up, then you are probably a liar. It just shows how far Leftwich has fallen.

He last started in 2006 with the Bucs so to say he will be ready to open up the playbook is totally false. The Steelers have two of the fastest wideouts in football but, given Leftwich’s ineptitude, who knows if they will get the ball in a position to make plays. Given the statistics of the Steelers rush offense and Ravens rush defense it would look like the Steelers should be able to run at will. However, I don’t believe they will be as successful as the numbers suggest given the fact that the Ravens can play all out to stop the run because they will not fear Leftwich moving out of the pocket and making big plays in the passing game. Very rarely can a one-dimensional offense succeed so Leftwich will have to make plays if the Steelers are to win this game. The slight edge goes to the Ravens given who is under center for Pittsburgh.

Advantage: Ravens

Special Teams:

Not much to say here, the Ravens have a kick returner who was just named special teams player of the week for the second time this season and the Steelers do not. Antonio Brown is a speed demon but he has not had the success that Jacoby Jones has had this season. Jones gives the Ravens a dimension they have not had since Jermaine Lewis wore the purple and black and it is just another thing opposing teams must game plan for.  Field goal kicking will likely be a challenge given the terrible field conditions, and likely bad weather, so there is no advantage for either team in that area.

Advantage: Ravens


During his career Ben Roethlisberger has rarely lost to the Ravens but, unfortunately for him and the Steelers, he has yet to win any game that he has had to watch from the sideline which will be the case Sunday. The Ravens are 4-0 against the Steelers when Roethlisberger doesn’t play, but they only won those games by a combined 11 points. Given that, I expect a close game. Ultimately I just don’t think Byron Leftwich is any good and therefore he will be the reason the Steelers come up short in this game.

Ravens 20, Steelers 14


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About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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