The Ravens know Sunday's game is a huge one. Win and be near (or at) the top of the race for the AFC North crown. Lose and perhaps fall into last place in the division.
Here are five things to watch in the matchup at Heinz Field:
Suggs Aims For 100 Sacks
It's the matchup that everybody (especially Sizzle) looks forward to: Terrell Suggs vs. Ben Roethlisberger. Suggs needs just two sacks to reach 100 for his career. Accomplishing that feat in Pittsburgh, against one of his most-loathed quarterback adversaries, would be the cherry on top. Roethlisberger has a way of slipping out of Suggs' tackles though. And Big Ben is coming into this game hot after a 522-yard, six-touchdown performance. Can Suggs and the Ravens' front-seven slow him down?
How Ravens Secondary Holds Up
The biggest matchup in this game isn't Suggs vs. Big Ben. It's the Ravens' secondary (specifically cornerbacks) against the Steelers deep and talented wideout corps. Without Jimmy Smith (foot) and Asa Jackson (toe), Baltimore has just three healthy cornerbacks. It's a tough task against Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who leads the NFL in catches and is second in receptions. The Steelers have a lot of quick, make-you-miss receivers. The Ravens not only need to cover well. Tackling well to prevent yards after catch will be critical.
Joe Flacco Bounce Back
Flacco is coming off back-to-back games in which he's thrown two interceptions. Cutting down on turnovers has been a point of emphasis this week in practice. Flacco likes playing in Pittsburgh and has performed well there in previous years. The Ravens rolled offensively in the two teams' first matchup as Baltimore punted just twice and were balanced on offense with 166 passing yards and 157 on the ground.
Ravens Limiting The Rush
With all the attention on Roethlisberger after his big day, watch out for Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell. Bell is the NFL's third-leading rusher (691 yards), trailing only the Cowboys' DeMarco Murray and Texans' Arian Foster. Baltimore held Bell to 11 carries for 59 yards in their Week 2 matchup, but the patient Steelers tailback will likely get more touches this time around.
The Deep Ball
The Steelers defense has given up the second-most plays of 20 or more yards this season. They're prone to the deep ball. The Ravens have the weapons to take advantage with Flacco's big arm and speedsters Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones on the outside. But can the Ravens make the plays when they need them? Smith and Jones have yet to pull down a catch of 50 or more yards this season and Flacco missed on a couple long shots last week. On the flip side, the Steelers can hit big plays too using Roethlisberger's propensity for backyard, scramble football.