2020 South Side Questions: Is Ravens’ Defense A Bigger Concern Than Offense?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Is the Ravens’ defense a bigger concern for the Steelers than their offense?

Last season, the Ravens led the NFL in scoring, broke an all-time record for the most rushing yards in a single season, and put up one of the highest-scoring seasons in NFL history. So far this season, they are averaging just a hair under 30 points per game. But they also have the top scoring defense in the league, allowing just 17.3 points per game.

Should the defensive side of the ball concern the Steelers more than their offense? They have held four of their first six opponents to 17 points and under, with Kansas City being the chief exception (pun intended only in hindsight). The Philadelphia Eagles put up 28, but that was only after they amassed a 24-6 lead.

The Ravens have the best cornerback tandem in the league with Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. They have Calais Campbell and Matt Judon up front, and they just added Yannick Ngakoue, who already had five sacks and two forced fumbles on the season. This will definitely be the best pass rush they’ve faced on the road so far this season. By far the best road defense overall.

Of course the offense is still potent. They have the fewest pass attempts in the league, but that’s because they don’t need to throw the ball. They also lead the league in rushing. They are eighth in scoring, but as a team, are second in points differential, tied with the Chiefs and behind only the Buccaneers (the Steelers are fourth).

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