An offseason spending spree, which brought about two new faces to the secondary. A cut and re-sign deal. A first-round pick.
Moves Ozzie and Eric made in the offseason, to once and for all, shut down the Steelers high-powered air assault.
After the Christmas day heartbreaker, the Baltimore Ravens missed the playoffs once again, for the third time in four seasons.
But now, they believe they have the defensive fire-power to counter the Ben Roethlisberger and his surplus of talent.
Jimmy Smith tends to play well against Antonio Brown. Though we haven’t seen him shadow a receiver against in 2017, I expect Smith to follow AB along the line-of-scrimmage on Sunday. Brandon Carr is finally a starting-caliber cornerback playing opposite of Jimmy. For once, it doesn’t feel like a complete liability on the right side.
Joining this secondary is Tony Jefferson, a dual-threat safety who can play the run in a game against a top-two tailback in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell. The Ravens find success against Bell, but not allowing room to run is essential against the Steelers offense. Also, his receiving skill is best in the league as a runningback, and Jefferson is capable of covering him.
Another addition, the rookie, Marlon Humphrey. In his first three games, in limited action, Marlon has produced impressive results. With the Ravens training him to play, rather than feeding him to A.J. Green, he’s created three pass break-ups. Once more, instead of forcing him to AB84, he’ll cover a less-skillful player, which can help groom him into a full-blown star.
The Ravens have the coverage talent to win this game. That doesn’t mean it’s game over, though. The pass rush, the run-defense, all of it must be precise. Even then, that’s only a third of the game, with special teams and the offense needing to produce.