On Now
Coming Up
  • Wed., Aug. 24, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Live Press Conference Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman will address the media following practice.
  • Thu., Aug. 25, 2016 1:00 PM EDT Live Press Conference Head coach John Harbaugh and key players will address the media following practice.
  • Sat., Aug. 27, 2016 6:30 PM EDT Live Pregame Show Gerry Sandusky, Stan White and Qadry Ismail preview the Ravens' preseason matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Sat., Aug. 27, 2016 7:00 PM EDT Live Game Audio Broadcast Listen to the live WBAL broadcast of the Lions vs. Ravens on BaltimoreRavens.com or in the Ravens mobile app.
  • Tue., Sep. 06, 2016 8:00 AM EDT Paint The Town Purple Help us paint the town purple! Visit M&T Bank Stadium on Tuesday morning or the Maryland State Fairgrounds in the afternoon to have your car stenciled with the official Ravens logo.
  • Wed., Sep. 07, 2016 8:00 AM EDT #FindTheFlock Scavenger Hunt Locate one of the six LED Ravens letters spread around Baltimore on Wednesday, Sept. 7 and you could win great prizes by using the hashtag #FindTheFlock! Clues will be provided Wednesday morning via the Ravens Snapchat account, so stay tuned and make sure to follow BLTRavens on Snapchat!
  • Fri., Sep. 09, 2016 5:00 PM EDT Countdown To Kickoff Party Presented By Miller Lite Grammy Award®-nominated rock band 3 DOORS DOWN will perform at the Ravens Countdown to Kickoff Party Presented by Miller Lite on Friday, Sept. 9 at Maryland State Fairgrounds. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. Open to all ages.
  • Sat., Sep. 10, 2016 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM EDT Ravens Report Hosted by WUSA-TV's Kristen Berset, Ravens Report, the flagship program of the Baltimore Ravens that showcases life in the NFL. Created by Ravens Productions, this magazine-style show features behind-the-scenes access to Ravens players and coaches as they prepare for each week's opponent.
  • Sat., Sep. 10, 2016 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM EDT Ravens Wired See the plays, hear the sideline conversations and feel the hits on Ravens Wired, the only behind-the-scenes show featuring a Ravens player wired for sound during each week's game. Go behind the Ravens bench for in-game adjustments and inside the locker room for Head Coach John Harbaugh's post-game speech. Produced by Ravens Productions, Ravens Wired is hosted by Comcast Sportsnet's Brent Harris.
  • Sun., Sep. 11, 2016 1:00 AM - 1:30 AM EDT Ravens Unscripted Ravens beat writers Ryan Mink and Garrett Downing join our host to tackle the latest Ravens headlines and hottest topics. Each week's show, brought to you by Ravens Productions, also features a special guest, including prominent sports media, front office staff, players or other Ravens insiders.

News

Print
RSS

Ravens vs. Steelers Preview: First Place On The Line

Posted Nov 18, 2012

The Ravens have an opportunity to create some separation in the AFC North.


There is no shortage of storylines heading into Sunday’s primetime matchup between the Ravens and Steelers.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out. The Steelers are looking to avenge the Ravens’ thrilling comeback win at Heinz Field last season. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is out. Familiar faces likes Ray Lewis and Hines Ward will both be absent for the first time ever.

But perhaps the most significant point of the game – and maybe the most overlooked – is that first place in the AFC North is on the line.

“We are looking for a chance to – No. 1 – control the division," running back Ray Rice said.

The Ravens (7-2) have a one-game advantage over the Steelers (6-3), but a Pittsburgh win would lock the two teams up atop of the division with another showdown looming in two weeks. A victory for the Ravens would give them a two-game advantage with six games to play, creating some separation in the division and putting them in the driver’s seat for the stretch run.

“It means something,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “It’s probably going to come down to whoever wins our [two rivalry games] is going to win the division. You have to approach it that way.”

The Ravens and Steelers always tend to play each other close, as seven of the last eight regular-season games have been decided by four points or less. Even with Roethlisberger out this week, the Ravens expect another close matchup.

“It’s one of those games that will be played very well,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “It will be played very efficiently. It will be a rough, tough game – like they all are. That’s how they are all played.”

3 Matchups To Watch

CB Cary Williams vs. WR Mike Wallace

The Ravens secondary will be tested this week, especially with J. Smith out. The Ravens will count on Williams to step up, as he is the team’s top cornerback following the injuries to Smith and Lardarius Webb. Wallace is a home-run threat for the Steelers, and they could take some chances deep with Byron Leftwich’s strong arm.

RB Ray Rice vs. Steelers Front Seven
The last time the Ravens went on the road – a Week 9 win over Cleveland – they pounded the ball on the ground with Rice. He had a season-high 25 carries in that game, as the Ravens slowed down the offense to get into a rhythm on the road. They could go with a similar approach this weekend, especially early in the game to chew up some clock and keep Pittsburgh’s offense off the field.

WR Torrey Smith vs. CB Ike Taylor
Sunday’s game will mark T. Smith’s first trip back to Pittsburgh since his memorable game-winning catch last season. He currently leads the Ravens with seven touchdown grabs and 548 receiving yards, and the Ravens will likely look to use his speed to take a couple deep shots down the field. If quarterback Joe Flacco is able to hit Smith on some deep balls early, then that could open up Rice and the running game.

3 Questions To Answer

Which injured players will suit up?
Both teams are dealing with significant injuries, and there are several players whose status is up in the air heading into Sunday. The Ravens are hoping to get defensive linemen Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee back in the lineup, while the Steelers hope running back Rashard Mendenhall is able to play. For Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Troy Polamalu have already been ruled out. Depending on what happens with Ngata, McPhee and Mendenhall, their ability to suit up could end up having a big impact on the game.

Can the Ravens capitalize on Roethlisberger’s absence?
Leftwich will start his first game in three years. The Ravens were adamant throughout the week that he is more than capable of doing the job and that the Steelers offense won’t change much with him at the helm. The Steelers could try to run the ball more to ease the burden on Leftwich, which will make it critical that the Ravens are able to stop Pittsburgh’s running game.

Can the Ravens take their offense on the road?
The story all season for the Ravens’ offense has been the inability to duplicate their home success away from M&T Bank Stadium. After Sunday’s 55-point showing at home against the Raiders, the offense hopes it can carry that momentum into Heinz Field. The Steelers have the top-ranked defense in the NFL, so the Ravens have a tall task in front of them, but duplicating their home success would go a long way in ensuring a Ravens victory.

2012 Rankings

Ravens
Total Defense – 390.2 (27)
Rush Defense – 132.0 (26)
Pass Defense – 258.2 (26)
Points Allowed Per Game – 21.8 (13)

Total Offense – 354.1 (16t)
Rush Offense – 104.9 (20)
Pass Offense – 249.2 (13)
Points Scored Per Game – 28.2 (4)

Steelers
Total Defense – 265.7 (1)
Rush Defense – 94.6 (6)
Pass Defense – 171.1 (1)
Points Allowed Per Game – 19.7 (7)

Total Offense – 354.1 (16t)
Rush Offense – 103.8 (21)
Pass Offense – 250.3 (11)
Points Scored Per Game – 23.0 (18)


Related Tags

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Related News

Recent Videos

Recent Photos