Last week, the Baltimore Ravens traveled to London to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars, in a game that didn’t go according to plan. The Ravens, frankly, got smoked by the Jaguars, a team they should’ve beaten handily. Now, after their first loss of the season, the 2-1 Ravens return home to Baltimore to face their archrivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are also coming off a loss against a team that they should have defeated. They lost in overtime last week to the Chicago Bears. As a result of their losses, both teams head into the game with a 2-1 record. Both teams are currently tied for first place in the AFC North Division, and the winner of this game will take the lead in the division. With the high stakes, this game is shaping out to be a good one. Here are our preview and predictions for this edition of the Ravens vs Steelers rivalry.
Last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Baltimore Ravens offense was nonexistent. Quarterback Joe Flacco only completed 8 of his 18 pass attempts, for just 28 yards passing, and threw two picks. None of Baltimore’s receivers had a good day either. The Ravens’ leading receiver was tight end Nick Boyle, who had just 14 yards receiving. The rushing attack didn’t do much either. Terrance West rushed 6 times for 26 yards, and Buck Allen rushed 8 times for just 15 yards. The Ravens did find some success in garbage time, however. Running back Alex Collins ran 9 times for 82 yards, and quarterback Ryan Mallet was able to find Ben Watson in the end zone for a touchdown. The Ravens offense needs to find a new rhythm against the Steelers if they want to win this game. Joe Flacco has to play at the elite level once again, and the running game has to provide a steady ground attack.
Ravens Defense vs Ben Roethlisberger
Last week, I talked about Blake Bortles going up against the Ravens defense. I expected the Ravens defense to dominate, and force Bortles to play a terrible game. However, this didn’t happen. The Ravens defense faltered against the Jaguars offense, and Blake Bortles played one of his best games ever. Bortles ended up throwing for 244 yards passing, and 4 touchdowns. After that terrible performance last week, the script flips for the Ravens defense. Instead of asking how Ben Roethlisberger will hold up against the Ravens defense, it’s how will the Ravens defense hold up against Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger is coming off a solid performance against the Bears. In that game, he put up 235 passing yards, and 1 passing touchdown. If the Ravens want to win this game, they will need to put Big Ben on notice and slow the Steelers offense.
Le’Veon Bell Looks to Crack 100 Yards Rushing
So far this season, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has yet to crack 100 yards rushing in a game. His highest total, 87 yards, came against the Vikings. So far this season, he has carried the ball 52 times, for just 180, giving him an average carry of 3.5 yards. Bell is a major key to the Steelers offense. If he can get rolling, the Steelers offense can do some heavy damage. However, if the Ravens defense can shut Bell down, they can force Pittsburgh to become one-dimensional. Needless to say, Bell’s performance in this game is crucial for the success of both teams. If he can evade the Ravens defense and rush for over 100 yards, it will be difficult for Baltimore to defeat Pittsburgh. If the Ravens defense can shut him down, Baltimore should have an easier time against Pittsburgh in the very important AFC North matchup.
Predicting the Ravens vs Steelers Game
Here are my predictions for the Ravens vs Steelers matchup this week in Baltimore:
- QB Joe Flacco ends his 9 game streak of throwing an interception.
- Flacco also completes a majority of his passes, throwing for just over 175 yards.
- Both RBs Terrance West Alex Collins finds his way to over 50 yards rushing.
- WR Mike Wallace catches a touchdown against his former team.
- CB Marlon Humphrey snags his first interception in the NFL.
- Ben Roethlisberger gives the Ravens fits with over 250 yards passing.
- Antonio Brown catches two touchdowns for the Steelers.
- Le’Veon Bell fails to rush for over 100 yards.
FINAL SCORE: Ravens 23 – Steelers 20.
- This game is going to be close and could go either way. In such a heated rivalry, it’s hard not to take the home team. Roethlisberger hasn’t won in Baltimore since 2010, and the Ravens want to keep it that way.