Time to fucking roll. Ravens. Steelers. Sunday Night Football. Tight AFC North race. The blood is flowing just thinking about it. Yeah the Steelers are coming off a monster game against the Colts. And the Ravens lost a heartbreaker last week. Don’t matter. These are dogfights. These are the games that bring out the best in both sides. Even though the Steelers didn’t get off the bus in Baltimore, they’ll be ready to bring it on Sunday, dumb towels in tow. Gotta go into their barn and send those degenerates home devastated. Here are your keys to a Ravens victory:
1. Cover Antonio Brown Like A Blanket
This has kept me up at night all week. Losing Jimmy Smith to a foot sprain couldn’t have come at a worse time. It’s nice to have Lardarius Webb finally healthy, but Jimbo had clearly supplanted Webb as the number one guy and did a decent job of keeping him at bay in Week 2. Brown is the catalyst of this offense, and is on pace for another 100+ catch, 1700+ yard season. Yeah Big Ben threw the ball all over the yard last week, but we know what he’s capable of and know how to handle him. Brown puts the fear of god into me. He’s a great route runner, so I expect Webb to play him physical at the line to disrupt his routes. Just gotta make sure we’ve got a safety behind him to make sure Webb doesn’t get burned. Keep Brown in check.
2. Protecting the Football
In week 2 we obliterated Pittsburgh in the turnover department 3-0. Real hard to lose a football game that way. More recently, we’ve been prone to turn the ball over, with 5 turnovers in the past 2 weeks. Some of those plays have been flukes, and some of them have been miscommunications between Flacco and his receivers, mainly Torrey Smith. 5 of Flacco’s 7 interceptions have been targets to Torrey. Time to clean that up. On the other side, the Steelers can’t hold onto the rock. They lost 2 fumbles in our earlier matchup, and lost another 2 last week. Rip it out boys!
3. Win the Battle in the Trenches
Hit em in the mouth all night long. You won’t win a Ravens-Steelers game without getting your nose in there and winning the battle in the trenches. Our offensive line is finally healthy and ready to reproduce their early season performance. Justin Forsett should be able to run all over the Steelers again, with a nice dose of Lorenzo Taliaferro in the red zone. Meanwhile Haloti Ngata has been a beast in recent weeks. Leveon Bell is a great back, but our rush defense is better. They haven’t allowed a 100 yard rusher in 18 weeks. And they’re only getting better. CJ Mosley is running away with the DROY, and would have a shot at the DPOY if JJ Watt wasn’t JJ Watt. Dominate on the ground and the result will be similar to week 2.
4. Finish the Game
If we break down the Ravens 3 losses, it really just comes down to finishing the game. 2 drives against the Bengals came up short, and so did the one on the Colts. They’ve been right there. 9 of the last 12 Ravens-Steelers games’ have been decided by 3 points or less. Flacco has managed long game winning drives in Heinz Field before and he can certainly do it again. I’m not as confident in our defense making the big stop after last week so if it comes down to it, hopefully the ball is in Flacco’s hand’s and not Ben’s.
Let’s fire some bullets…
Why you should feel shitty about tonight’s game: Flacco is 7-8 in his career vs. Pittsburgh, every corner behind Webb is garbage, Mike Tomlin will cheat to win if he has to, Will Hill inexplicably gets fewer snaps than he should, Steelers are the worst 5-3 team that’s ever existed.
Why you should feel great about tonight’s game: Flacco is 5-2 in his last 7 games vs. Pittsburgh, nobody has sacked Roethlisberger more than Suggs, best point differential in the world, there isn’t a football player on the planet more cut out for these games than Steve Smith, Justin Tucker.