New series we’ll do each Sunday morning before kickoff. A prediction of what will happen if the Pittsburgh Steelers win, if they lose, and my final score prediction. My outlook on this afternoon’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Steelers Will Win If…
– They establish a perimeter run game. The interior in Baltimore is as tough as anyone, the tandem of Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Williams, so if the Steelers want to stay two-dimensional, they need to win on the edges. Pin/pull schemes, maybe mix in some dart or outside zone. The offensive line needs to win with angles. Base blocks and trying to get square to those guys is too difficult.
– No third and long conversions defensively. I know Baltimore has the second-worst third down offense in the league but man, I still have a bad feeling. They have a couple good third down targets with Dennis Pitta and FB Kyle Juzczyk as their top guys. Have to be aware for the screen game in some obvious situations and can’t let Pitta get free over the middle.
– The special teams battle is in their favor. And that is no easy task. The Ravens are a strong group, led by Justin Tucker, Sam Koch, and the best field goal block unit in the NFL. These games are always close so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see whoever has the advantage in football’s third phase win the game.
The Steelers Will Lose If…
– They can’t keep a lid on things defensively. That’s still how the Ravens move the football best with their vertical attack. Can’t let Mike Wallace, Breshard Perriman, or a hyped up Steve Smith (if he plays) swing momentum to them. Keep the crowd quiet.
– The run defense is reminiscent of the Miami Dolphins’ game. As I have talked about throughout the week, it’s similar circumstances. Average attack but getting a lot healthier along the line. That’s where Baltimore sits with the return of LT Ronnie Stanley and RG Marshal Yanda. Have to keep things in check.
– History repeats itself with Ben Roethlisberger. Bad at Baltimore, bad on the road in general, rough in his first game back from injury. Lot of things working against him. Has to change the course.