The Baltimore Ravens have the NFL's #2 overall defense, 2nd against the run and 10th against the pass. Conversely, the Steelers offense sits at #4 overall, 1st in rushing and 23rd in passing. Don't be misled by their passing attack ranking. When you are the #1 rushing team in the league, you don't need to pass too much. However, Ben Roethlisberger has been extremely efficient throwing the ball, evidenced by his 15/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio, which ranks him as the 4th with a QB rating of 102.2, putting him just behind some guys named Brady, Manning and Romo.
At the same time, the Ravens second ranked defense has historically kept Fast Willie Parker from being, well,...fast. They limited him to under 50 yards in two games last year and hope this trend continues. Their goal is to get Roethlisberger into a throwing mode, which could lead to turnovers and the short field that this Ravens team so deperately needs to put points on the board (by field goals, most likely!)
As I've said repeatedly in this week's columns, the Ravens do not do well on the road, to put it mildly. Their stats reveal two significantly different teams, especially in the win-loss column. Baltimore is 3-0 at home, yet 1-3 on the road. However, they shut down the Steelers in Pittsburgh at the end of last season, winning 31-7, and as long as they keep that in mind, the possibility of an upset win still exists.
The Ravens have beaten the Steelers the last three times they've played and are 5-0 coming off their Bye week the last five years. Conversely, the Steelers are 12-0 in their last 12 Monday Night Football games. Ouch! Someone's streak will be ending Monday night.