Week 7 Preview: Ravens vs. Steelers

| October 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

ravensBaltimore Ravens (3-3)

At

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)

Sunday at 4:25pm, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

Line:  Steelers -3

The best rivalry in football is renewed once again when the Ravens travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. While the main players who defined the rivalry aren’t around anymore, and both teams’ records this season are not where they expected, Sunday’s game is sure to be a hard-fought, intense one.

This game is crucial in deciding who wins the AFC North as the Steelers could be one game out of first place with a win and a Bengals loss, while the Ravens could be tied for first in the division and pretty much bury the Steelers. Ravens and Steelers, not much more needs to be said. Sit back, buckle your chin straps and enjoy… although if you like explosive offensive football, you may not want to watch this one.

Here is my take on the game:

Ravens offense vs. Steelers defense

At this point in the season it is hard to give the Ravens offense the advantage against any defense, let alone the fourth best passing defense in the NFL. The offensive line can’t block anyone, leaving Joe Flacco no time to throw the ball. And, when they actually open up a hole to run through, Ray Rice has not shown the ability or burst to pick up a big gain. This offense is completely one dimensional and no matter how good your quarterback and receivers are, it is hard to score points on an NFL defense when they know you can’t run the ball.

The Ravens play calling doesn’t change regardless of how ineffective it is and this is something that needs to change. We saw the success this offense had when Jim Caldwell called plays exclusively and, if this offense is going to have any consistent success, it is time for John Harbaugh to relinquish control and let Caldwell do what he does best. There are playmakers on this offense, but it is the job of the coaching staff to call plays to utilize them. I believe that 20 points will win this game, but can this offense get that many? I hope so, but I am not confident.

Advantage: Steelers

Steelers offense vs. Ravens defense

The analysis here should pretty much just say “see above paragraph” because the Steelers offense is in shambles just like the Ravens. The Steelers can’t run the ball, their offensive line has struggled all season, there has been no production from the tight end and the play calling has not made the quarterback happy. Sounds very similar to the team in purple and black, right?  Last week the Steelers exhibited some better play calling with short passes to get their receivers the ball in space and they were successful. I expect them to try similar plays and try to spread the defense out to limit the amount of time Roethlisberger has to hold the ball. If Suggs and Dumervil can’t get to the quarterback, the Ravens will have a harder time winning the game. However, it is hard to see the Steelers offense moving the ball on the Ravens defense all game.

Advantage: Ravens

Special teams

The special teams units for both teams will be the difference in the game. Whatever team wins the field position battle, and maybe can get some points out of their return game, will win. Last season it was Jacoby Jones who scored the only Ravens touchdown of the game, which ended up being the ultimate deciding factor. And, good for the Ravens, Jacoby seems to be back to 100 percent now.

If the Ravens win this game, Sam Koch, Justin Tucker and Jacoby Jones will be the reasons why. I have a feeling that we may be see Jacoby dancing in the endzone this week.

Advantage: Ravens

Prediction

There are 17 weeks in the NFL and plenty of important games left, however this is a must win for Pittsburgh, and as close to a must win game as the Ravens can have this early in the season. Going into their bye week at 4-3 would put the Ravens in a much better position than going in at 3-4.

Overall, the Ravens are the more talented team; however, the struggles of the offense are for real and won’t just change overnight unless the coaching staff changes their play calling. Special teams, turnovers and the first team to 20 points will win this game. I don’t think either team scores 20 points this game but somehow the Ravens find a way to get the job done on a late goal line stand to preserve the win.

Ravens 17, Steelers 13.

 

Follow Marco on twitter @mromanell and Southbmore.com @southbmore1.

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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