After a gruesome divisional matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have little to no time to heal their battle wounds. With the Baltimore Ravens next on their schedule, the Steelers will be in for another slugfest with a longtime AFC North rival. Here are the numbers that are shaping the AFC North’s most anticipated rivalry.
In the last month, Ravens’ safety Eric Weddle has intercepted three passes. Weddle, who was linked to the Steelers during the 2016 offseason, has made his fair share of plays against the Pittsburgh side. While most remember Weddle for being the recipient of Antonio Brown’s division winning stretch last Christmas, the safety has also intercepted Ben Roethlisberger earlier this season via a fluke play. With Weddle red hot, Roethlisberger and the Steelers will need to keep an eye on where the Ravens’ safety is positioned at all times.
Roethlisberger has found his home form over the stretch as the Steelers’ quarterback has thrown 10 touchdowns to only two interceptions over his last three home starts. Roethlisberger has also posted a passer rating over 100.0 in his last three home starts as well. With the Roethlisberger of old taking form, the Ravens may be in for a difficult week seeing as they will be without top cornerback Jimmy Smith.
The Ravens rank first in the NFL with a +14 turnover differential. This does not bode well for a Steelers’ offense that in the last two weeks has turned the ball over a combined four times. The Steelers’ turnover problems will smell like blood in the water for a Ravens team that has 11 takeaways in the last three weeks. While this Steelers and Ravens matchup may not have the luster of year’s previous, the Steelers need to be wary of protecting the football should they plan to win.
With Ryan Shazier’s absence, the Steelers will have a big hole in their middle linebacking core moving forward. The Steelers are rumored to be using a combination of Arthur Moats and Sean Spence at the middle linebacking position. While both Moats and Spence are experienced at the position, they do not have much experience on defense this season. The two have played a total of 47 defensive snaps total this season, with Moats accounting for all 47. With Moats transitioning from his usual outside linebacking spot back inside, the middle linebacking position will be one to monitor during Sunday night’s contest.
One player looking forward to Sunday night’s affair is Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown. I talked earlier this season about Brown’s clutch play during primetime games but the Steelers’ wide receiver has exceeded those expectations. In the last three weeks, Brown has recorded 28 receptions for 414 yards along with 6 touchdowns. Look for Brown to cap off his primetime performance with another strong game Sunday night against the Ravens.