Another installment in the rivalry involving the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens is in the forecast for Sunday afternoon. The Steelers, 4-2-1, and Ravens, 4-4, will make battle for majors claims in the AFC North. The Ravens won the first matchup in Pittsburgh and now Mike Tomlin’s group will look to avenge that loss in Baltimore. Here are all the numbers you will need to know for Sunday’s game.
1 – Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has struggled in Baltimore over the course of his entire career. The veteran signal caller has just one win to show for his last six trips to Baltimore and has performed less than acceptable. Over his last six games on the road against the Ravens, Roethlisberger has thrown eight interceptions to just five touchdowns, with a passer rating of 80.0 or lower in five of those six contests. Depending on other factors such as the defense and run game, the Steelers may need a big performance from Big Ben. Baltimore has been Roethlisberger’s house of horrors throughout his career, but hopefully Sunday the quarterback can emerge unscathed.
3 – The Steelers have fired off three wins in a row as they emerged from the bottom of the AFC North over the month of October. One key area of focus for the last month has been the team’s defense and over the course of the last three victories, the defense has put on a better than expected showing. Over the last three games, the defense has allowed neither 300 yards passing nor 100 yards rushing. Keith Butler’s unit is coming off their best showing of the season where they limited the Browns to just 237 total yards, with 163 coming in the air and 74 on the ground. With high stakes involved for the AFC North on Sunday, Butler’s unit will be looked upon to tune in another fine performance.
72.9 – Much of talk in September surrounding around the re-emergence of Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco but the quarterback has cooled off considerably come the month of October. His completion percentage has fallen from 64.3% to 57.9% as has his passer rating from 96.9 to 72.9. His touchdown passes cut in half from eight in September to just four in October and most concerning is his yards per pass attempt has sunk to just 5.9. With Sunday being the first game of November for Flacco, the question is will he continue to decline as his October splits suggest or will he rebound following a mediocre month?
77.8% – The Baltimore Ravens’ defense has been one of the stingiest in the red zone this season, allowing just 57.14% of red zone attempts to find the end zone. This has been a different story over the last three weeks though as the Ravens have allowed a touchdown on 77.8% of red zone attempts. The Ravens’ red zone inefficiency bodes well for the high-powered Steelers’ offense that has almost scored at will this season in the red zone. The Steelers have the NFL’s second-best red zone offense, converting 15/20 attempts.
158 –Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the NFL’s best protected quarterbacks over his last four games. Roethlisberger has dropped back to pass 158 times over his last four games and has only been sacked twice. This gives his offensive line a sack percentage of just 1.2%. The offensive line will likely be without right tackle Marcus Gilbert once again on Sunday but lineman Matt Feiler has done an exceptional job filling in thus far. For the Steelers to win, they will have to provide Roethlisberger with the time and clean pocket needed to weather the tough road environments.