The Ravens have one of the best red-zone defenses in the NFL.
They have not allowed a red-zone touchdown the last four games, keeping opponents out of the end zone on 10 straight trips.
But the unit will likely get tested in that area this week, as the Steelers recently added veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress to give them a big target close to the end zone.
“Obviously, he’s a red-zone threat,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s a big body coming in there. He’s a threat on slants, bodying up on corners. He’s just a great player.”
Burress, 6-foot-5, 232 pounds, signed with the Steelers last week and was active for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns. He did not register a catch in the loss, but did draw a pass interference penalty in the end zone to set up a Steelers touchdown.
Burress has shown a knack for the end zone during his career, and at this point, the 35-year-old wideout is most dangerous around the goal line. Last season, Burress was fourth in the NFL with five touchdown receptions in goal-to-go situations. Those five scores came on just 12 targets.
With the Jets, Burress had eight touchdowns in 45 receptions.
“He can make every run, every route,” Harbaugh said. “He can make every catch. He’s a threat on the sideline to go up and make plays.”
The Ravens red-zone defense has been particularly tough through the air, as the unit has allowed just one passing touchdown inside the 20 in the last five games. Overall, the Ravens have given up just four passing touchdowns inside the red zone this season, the lowest mark in the NFL.
Burress will likely challenge that streak, but one way to avoid that is to keep the Steelers away from the goal line.
“If we keep them out the red zone he can’t test us,” safety
“We have guys that can go out there and get just as physical. We have guys that can go out there and jump. But if we play sound football and keep them out of the red zone, I think we’ll be OK."