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50 Words or Less: Ronnie Stanley's Return Would Be a Big Deal

T Ronnie Stanley
T Ronnie Stanley

The Ravens (8-4) enter Week 14 battling for a playoff spot and face the archrival Steelers (5-7) on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium.

Here are my thoughts entering the game, all in 50 words or less:

It's difficult for Baltimore's offensive line to dominate without All-Pro Ronnie Stanley. He's their best offensive lineman and he's played 100% of the offensive snaps just once this season. Hopefully he returns against Pittsburgh as expected. Having Stanley for the stretch run would be a big deal.

Speaking of the offensive line, I was glad to see Kevin Zeitler (knee) and Patrick Mekari (toe) back at practice Friday. Steelers-Ravens will be a serious battle in the trenches, and Baltimore will need its big men up front.

Kenny Pickett has gone four straight games without an interception, part of the reason Pittsburgh is playing better. But I'm thinking the Ravens will pick off Pickett at least once Sunday. It's not easy for a rookie quarterback to play a turnover-free game against this aggressive Baltimore defense.

People may have forgotten how well safety Marcus Williams was playing before he dislocated his wrist in Week 5. Williams had three interceptions in his first two games, and he could return Sunday. If he plays, that's another player Pickett needs to be wary of.

The Ravens don't like to bring up history when it's negative. But they openly talked this week about their four-game losing streak against the Steelers. That's the right approach. Patrick Queen doesn't know how it feels to beat Pittsburgh, and he's in his third season. It's time.

Steelers reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt (ribs) has been limited this week, but it's always a chore keeping him out of the backfield. Ravens right tackle Morgan Moses needs to get plenty of rest before Sunday. He'll need it to contain Watt.

Tyler Huntley played well in Week 13, but it will likely take more than 10 points to win in Pittsburgh. I'd like to see Huntley take a couple of deep shots to DeSean Jackson or Devin Duvernay. Methodical drives are nice. But a sudden TD strike could be huge. 

Justin Tucker is two points shy of breaking Matt Stover's franchise record for career points (1,463). Tucker definitely has a flair for the dramatic. Would it surprise anyone to see him make the game-winner in a game that's expected to be low-scoring?

Rookie Jordan Stout had perhaps his best game in Week 13, landing five punts inside the 20. In a game where field position could be crucial, the Ravens will need Stout on top of his game, with both accuracy and distance.

This will be Roquan Smith's first Ravens-Steelers game. He was built for this kind of physical matchup. Smith already plays like a Raven, but he's been told you're not really a Raven until you beat Pittsburgh. He'd like to check that off his to-do list.

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