Week 9 Preview: Ravens vs Steelers

| November 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

Baltimore Ravens (5-3)ravens

At

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

Sunday 8:30pm at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

Line:  Ravens -2

The best rivalry in the NFL resumes yet again as the Ravens travel to Pittsburgh for a primetime battle with the Steelers in a game that carries huge divisional implications. The Ravens squandered a golden opportunity to take a hold of the division last week while the Steelers scored 51 points against the Colts.  In addition to losing the game, the Ravens lost cornerback Jimmy Smith for a few weeks due to a leg injury. Are the Ravens fading while the Steelers are peaking? Or will the Ravens get back on track and get a crucial AFC North win? Here is my take on the game:

Ravens offense vs Steelers defense:

This will be the biggest key for the Ravens to beat the Steelers. I know it is not hard hitting analysis but if the offense plays well, the Ravens will have a great chance to win. They need to establish the running game (something they surprisingly couldn’t do against the Bengals), which should create room for the Ravens receivers to make plays (provided they catch the ball).

The Steelers secondary can be beat, the Ravens just need to scheme to put themselves in a position to make plays. Someone needs to help Steve Smith out and really step up and make some of those plays. The Ravens have not shown the ability to have the passing game carry them to victory, so if they can’t run the ball, it will be interesting to see if the receivers can step up and help out Joe Flacco.

There will definitely be big plays available to be made, I just hope the Ravens receivers can make them. What a difference a week makes as last week we were talking about the Ravens being a top 10 offense. Let’s see if they can get back to that and show balance on both sides of the ball.

Advantage: Even

Steelers offense vs Ravens defense:

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense are peaking, which is terrible news for the Ravens and their banged up secondary. They have the second leading passer, second leading receiver, and fourth leading running back in yards in the NFL, making them a balanced offense that is very tough to stop. Someone in the Ravens secondary will have to step up and make plays and hold Antonio Brown in check.  In addition, if the front seven can play well and pressure Roethlisberger and stop the run that will help out the weak secondary.

Last week we saw the Ravens struggle to get off the field on 3rd down and give up a late touchdown drive that cost them the game (two things that went against the norm for them this season). This week they are facing a much better offense so they will need to make stops on the 3rd down and in the red zone. Ultimately there is just too much fire power on the offensive side of the ball for the Steelers.

Advantage: Steelers

Special Teams:

Neither team has done much of anything to speak of in the return game; however, the Steelers have Antonio Brown as their primary punt returner and he trumps anyone who the Ravens have back there. In addition, Shaun Suisham has been almost perfect on the year. He is no Justin Tucker, but he is more than formidable. Given the fact that Antonio Brown will get the chance to return the ball on punts and my feelings about Jacoby Jones, the Steelers have the slight advantage.

Advantage: Steelers

Prediction:

Last week the Steelers drop 51 points and beat one of the best teams in the NFL while the Ravens played one of their worst games of the season on both sides of the ball, yet the Las Vegas line has the Ravens as two-point favorites. Interesting.

All the signs point to a Steelers blow out and I struggle to see how the Ravens will be able to keep the Steelers offense in check, unless of course the Ravens offense sustains long drives keeping the ball out of Roethlisberger’s hands. I do not believe the Steelers are as good as they showed last week and conversely I think the Ravens are better than they showed.

The first match up of the year was dominated by the Ravens but I think this one will be different. Hey, I picked against the Ravens in Week 2 and they beat the Steelers 26-6. I am picking against them this week hoping the same thing happens. Ultimately it just comes down to the fact that I trust the Steelers offense more than I trust the Ravens.

Steelers 20 Ravens 17

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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