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Ravens News 10/27: Rising to the Occasion and more

NFL: SEP 28 Chiefs at Ravens Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Must Rise To The Steelers Occasion - Glenn Clark

More specifically, Lamar Jackson needs to rise to the Steelers occasion. As he prepares to start his first ACTUAL Ravens-Steelers game, he needs to author his name in Ravens-Steelers lore.

Sure, the Ravens will count their two wins last year as they try to get back to .500 all-time against their rivals, but we all know the truth. Those weren’t really Ravens-Steelers games.

There’s an argument that these won’t REALLY be Ravens-Steelers games, either, since the typical “feel-it-in-your-bones” electricity will be replaced by “4,000 fans doing the best they can,” but the game itself is still far closer than what Jackson was part of last year. The teams enter the game with one COMBINED loss on the season, two of the top defenses in the league and both having the appearance of a viable threat to dethrone Kansas City in the AFC. Ben Roethlisberger has quieted his many doubters and somehow the Steelers have developed even MORE pass-catching playmakers.

Don’t get it twisted. This isn’t like the Kansas City thing. That’s a bigger problem. The Ravens are 0-3 against KC under Jackson. This isn’t like the playoffs thing. He’s played poorly in both of his playoff games — both at home. This is nothing more than an anomaly at this point. In his only try against the Steelers, he just so happened to play poorly.

Steelers prove they can start fast just in time for Ravens - Brooke Pryor

It’s the kind of fast start the Steelers need to replicate on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, who are rested after a bye week, in the biggest test for the Steelers to date. The Ravens’ defense, which added defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with the Vikings last week, has allowed only the Kansas City Chiefs to score on an opening drive.

On offense, the Ravens have scored on the opening possession in four of six games, including two touchdown throws from Lamar Jackson to tight ends.

“We realize that we’ve got AFC North ball next week on the road,” Tomlin said. “We’re going to a group that has seven days’ advantage on us, so there’s a lot for us to be urgent about.”

DeShon Elliott Is Establishing Himself, Just Like Minkah Fitzpatrick Did - Clifton Brown

Fitzpatrick is recognized as one of the game’s best safeties, but Elliott hasn’t forgotten that they were once mentioned in the same breath in college. Elliott sees no reason that he can’t be recognized as an elite safety again, and he’s willing to put in the work. His nickname is “The Joker”, but Elliott is serious about maximizing his talent.

Ravens Pass Defensive Coordinator Chris Hewitt said he expects Elliott will be a “staple around here for a while.”

“He’s gotten better every week,” Hewitt said. “(He’s) getting more comfortable playing his position. He’s always been a guy who’s been extremely studious, a guy who is taking every rep to try to get better. Becoming a pro, he had so many examples in front of him, like the Eric Weddle’s and the ‘T.J.’ (Tony) Jefferson’s, on how to be a pro – coming in early in the morning, getting your lifts in and watching tape. He’s done everything the right way, and his approach is going to help him become a really good player.”

“He’s just getting his opportunity to shine,” Clark said. “He sat around on the bench for two years – same situation as me – and once we finally got out there and showed that we can play, it’s like, we’re out here to take it and run with it, and that’s what we tell each other just about every game. I’m so happy for him that he’s even able to be out there. He’s healthy, being able to make plays, get turnovers and just show his spirit out there on the field.”

Ravens-Steelers: Top 5 Games in One of NFL’s Best Rivalries - Todd Karpovich

1. Jan. 3, 2015 —AFC Wild Card Game, Heinz Field

Final Score: Ravens 30, Steelers 17

Analysis: The Ravens finally won a playoff game in Pittsburgh after suffering losses in 2008 and 2010. Joe Flacco continued his postseason dominance, throwing for 259 yards with a pair of second-half touchdowns to Torrey Smith and Crockett Gillmore. Steve Smith had five receptions for 101 yards. Linebacker Terrell Suggs put the game away by intercepting Roethlisberger. The Ravens advanced to the AFC championship game where they fell to the Patriots 35-31.

NFL picks, predictions for Week 8: Ravens hand Steelers first loss; Saints beat Bears; Browns upset - Bill Bender

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)

Lamar Jackson threw three interceptions in his only start against the Steelers last season, but the Ravens still won 26-23. Baltimore had an extra week to get ready, and they take advantage in what should be the best game of the weekend.

Pick: Ravens 30, Steelers 27