It all boils down to these matchups. These are the games that truly test the make-up of your team. Whether or not your team belongs in the playoff picture, or will be drafting in the top ten. This rivalry has given football fans a plethora of memories and nail biters. Here’s how we see round one of Steelers versus Ravens going:
1. James Revere: Time to buckle up your chin straps, boys. We already know that this will be a close game. Pittsburgh is going to be relentless in its pursuit of Flacco Sunday night. I’m expecting a hopeful heavy dose of the running game as Pittsburgh’s usually stellar defense ranks near the bottom in most categories. To set up success, and more protection for Joe Flacco, I expect to see a lot of Nick Boyle and Mark Andrews on the field at the same time.
On the other side of the ball, Wink Martindale had better keep preaching maintaining coverage assignments this week. With only four healthy corners again, coverage of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster will be a tall order. Playing press outside the numbers will hopefully allow for Weddle and Jefferson to continue coverage over the top and keep everything in front of them.
It’ll be a close one in the big Ketchup, but something feels good about this team.
Ravens 36. Steelers 33
2. Frank B: My biggest concern would be the overall health of the Ravens and of course the offensive line. The Steelers would like to replicate the pressure they got on Ryan Fitzpatrick Monday night and force Joe Flacco into turnovers. That being said, I’m seeing a shootout here. The Ravens have shown they are susceptible to the big play and the Steelers can strike from anywhere. The Ravens secret weapon? John Brown. The speedster is a mismatch and can take it to the house on any play. If the Ravens fall behind early as they did in Cincinnati, they could be in trouble. I’m seeing this as a quick strike, big play type game.
Steelers 27 Ravens 24
3. Charles Kastner: The success on offense in the redzone has fans excited, but when it comes to moving the ball consistently, the Ravens have been rather ordinary. The Steelers defense, has been gashed in consecutive weeks. This will bode well for the Ravens as I see a five score day. Combined, it will total about 23 points with Justin Tucker being his usual self. As sturdy as the Ravens defense has been, I still see Pittsburgh squeaking in that last field goal to take this one in heartbreaking fashion.
Steelers 24. Ravens 23
4. John Wachter: There’s something special about Steeler week, especially in prime time games. Unfortunately that something special has been fourth quarter collapses as of late, but Wink Martindale and company are looking to change the narrative. The Ravens will need to score early and often and should do that against what I believe is a bad Steeler defense. We all know Pittsburgh can score, but with that said I expect a couple of takeaways and for the Ravens to put it away in the end.
Ravens 34 Steelers 28