The Ravens are preparing for the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, and tonight they have the chance to sit back and watch their divisional rival on Monday Night Football.
The Steelers (5-3) will welcome the Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) to Heinz Field in a game where they are 12.5 point favorites. The nationally televised game gives the Ravens a chance to do a little home scouting on the Steelers just six days before their matchup.
"I'm going to try to get home tonight to watch it," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Normally Monday Night Football is watched out of the corner [of your eye], you kind of listen to it while you're watching your opponent. But, since we're playing them, it'll be a little more fun to watch."
If you're planning to watch from home, here are some things to look for in Monday's game (other than a Chiefs' upset):
Which running backs do the Steelers use?
The Steelers have rotated through a stable of running backs this year, as Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman have all dealt with injuries at times this season. Mendenhall (Achilles) is doubtful, but Dwyer (quadriceps) is expected to play. If Mendenhall is out, then Dwyer and Redman will likely split the carries, unless one of them gets into a rhythm. Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin has emphasized that the offense will rotate its running backs unless one of them gets hot during a game.
Does Kansas City have success on the ground?
The Chiefs will likely try to pound the ball on the ground with running back Jamaal Charles. The Steelers have been stout against the run this season and given up an average of just 88.6 yards per game, which ranks fourth in the NFL. If the Chiefs are able to have success on the ground, then that could expose some holes that that Ravens may try to take advantage of with Ray Rice. The Ravens could try a ground-and-pound approach next Sunday, which makes tonight's game against the Chiefs a potential preview for how the Steelers defense handles the run.
Do any more injuries crop up?
The Steelers have dealt with a handful of injuries this season, as Mendenhall, safety Troy Polamalu, linebacker James Harrison, center Maurkice Pouncey and wide receiver Antonio Brown have all missed time for injuries. Polamalu and Brown both been ruled out of tonight's matchup, and their status is up in the air for Sunday's game. Injuries to key players like Ben Roethlisberger have hindered the Steelers down the stretch in recent seasons, and the team will look to keep him upright against talented pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Staying healthy is a top priority for the Steelers, and any injuries tonight could significantly alter Sunday's game.