The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are forever linked together in terms of their history on the defensive side of the football. Defense has been the catalyst of their rivalry with players like Ray Lewis, Joey Porter, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, James Harrison and Terrell Suggs over the years, and the tradition still continues today. Harrison and Suggs are the last men standing when it comes to the old guard for this rivalry.
In 2017, defense has helped put both these rivals at 2-0 to begin this young season. The Steelers defense is ranked 3rd in yards allowed in the NFL, 5th in passing yards allowed and 6th in points allowed. The Ravens are 11th in yards allowed, and 2nd in points allowed. There is one thing that Baltimore's defense has the clear edge over Pittsburgh's defense - turnovers.
The Ravens have taken the football away ten times over the first two weeks of the season. Pittsburgh has just two turnovers to begin the young campaign. In an article by the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette's Ed Bouchette, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin discusses his teams pressure to get turnovers. Here is an excerpt from the article:
"We're doing a lot of good things," Tomlin said of his defense that ranks No. 3 in yards allowed in the NFL. "We're running to the ball. We're largely keeping it in front of us." But ... "I'd like to see us get the ball more. I think we only produced one turnover over two football games and maybe we're plus-1 in the turnover ratio through a couple of ball games." Compare that to the Baltimore Ravens, who have produced ten turnovers through their two victories, eight of them interceptions.
"There are some teams out there playing significant ball on the defensive side that are getting turnovers in bunches," Tomlin said, probably with the Ravens in mind. "And if we want to be one of the elite groups, we have to get in that game and produce in those type of days. And particularly it can be much needed as you go into a hostile environment like Soldier field."
The Ravens and Steelers will meet up in Baltimore in Week 4, but first both teams head on the road for tough matchups with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. The Steelers defense will get their opportunities against a Bears team that turned the football over four times in their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The Ravens will look to do the same against Blake Bortles, Leonard Fournette, and the Jaguars in London on Sunday.
The competition between these two teams on defense goes on.