A rivalry game against Pittsburgh for first place in the division is just the remedy the Baltimore Ravens need to reclaim their season.
Competing with the Steelers has brought out the best in the team’s coaches and players over the last three seasons. The Ravens have earned some of their most impressive victories, including their only playoff win since 2012, along with two of their five wins last season against Pittsburgh.
Lately, John Harbaugh has had Mike Tomlin’s number. This Ravens team is in a good spot this Sunday to extend the recent shift in power between the rival franchises.
- Ravens Offensive Line will allow pressure on less than 45% of passing attempts
According to Filmstudy of Russell Street Report, during the four game losing streak, the Ravens patchwork offensive line has kept the pass rush at bay for more than three seconds on only 41% of all drop backs. However, the expected return of Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda from injury would strengthen three of the five positions on the line. The other factor is Pittsburgh’s pass rush, which has generated just eight sacks this season. Eight is the lowest total in the NFL, half as many as the Ravens defense has accumulated over the same stretch.
- Ravens will hold Antonio Brown below 50 total yards
Believe it or not, Dean Pees’ defense actually held Antonio Brown in check last season, he averaged six receptions for 52 yards over two meetings last season. In 13 career games against Baltimore, Brown has scored one single touchdown. And the Ravens pass defense is playing at a high level right now behind a rebound season from Jimmy Smith, a breakout rookie year for Tavon Young and steady leadership from Eric Weddle. Furthermore, Brown is averaging his lowest yards per game since 2012 and his ‘chunk’ plays are down noticeably from the three previous seasons in 2016.
- Joe Flacco will deliver the game winning touchdown
Flacco has always been a big game player. With almost two weeks to stew on his mistakes in the loss to the Jets, he should be rearing to play. Another week for Marty Mornhinweg’s to find a comfort level with the playcalling, and a healthier supporting cast are also working in the quarterback’s favor. Flacco has turned in some of the best games of his career against the Steelers, including several memorable game winning drives. Pittsburgh has the 26th ranked passing defense in the league and has allowed 8.3 yards per pass attempt in road games.