The Baltimore Ravens will face the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday. The Steelers are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL, while the Ravens have only lost to the Chiefs. This game will be a big test for the Ravens and will certainly have playoff implications moving forward. Here are five players to watch:
Bradley Bozeman, Tyre Phillips, and Matt Skura
The Ravens are leading the NFL in both rushing yards per game and yards per rush attempt, but their offense will face their toughest test this season. The Steelers have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL this season. That has been in large part due to the performance of their defensive line. Tyson Alualu and Cameron Heyward currently have PFF’s two highest run-defense grades among interior defenders. In addition, Stephon Tuitt has a run-defense grade of 76.7, which is 12th among interior defenders.
Last week, the Steelers were able to contain the league’s leading rusher, Derrick Henry. Collectively, the Titans were held to a season-low 82 rushing yards. It was the first time in 13 regular season games that the Titans failed to gain 100 rushing yards.
The Ravens’ success running the football will hinge on the play of their interior offensive line, who will be tasked with handling Alualu, Heyward, and Tuitt. Bradley Bozeman has been solid this season. He was the ninth among guards in run block win rate entering the bye week.
Where Ravens rank in ESPN's win rates— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) October 21, 2020
OLB Pass Rush: Matthew Judon (5th)
OT Pass Block: Ronnie Stanley (1st)
G Run Block: Bradley Bozeman (9th)
Team pass rush: 9th
Run stop: 18th
Pass block: 11th
Run block: 9thhttps://t.co/jfiwlXSTUC
On the other hand, Tyre Phillips has struggled run blocking. To be fair, he is a rookie and will naturally take time to develop. He has showed promise as a pass blocker, as well. Nevertheless, he has a PFF run block grade of 42.5. At the moment, that grade is 71st among 77 qualifying guards. Asking him to go block the Steelers defensive line will be a tall order.
Finally, Matt Skura has made an incredible comeback after going down with an ACL, MCL, and PCL tear and a dislocated knee cap. However, he is still working towards reaching his highest level of play. Luckily, the bye week afforded him extra time to shake off any additional rust for Sunday’s game.
Mark Ingram suffered an ankle injury against the Eagles. His status for Sunday’s game is still unclear, but he did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
Ravens has four players not practicing Wednesday:— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) October 28, 2020
CB Marlon Humphrey
RB Mark Ingram (ankle)
QB Robert Griffin III
DE Calais Campbell (usual vet day)
Edwards led the Ravens with 14 carries against the Eagles, and if Ingram does not play, Edwards would, once again, see an increased workload.
Edwards is more than capable of leading the way in the running game. He has been extremely efficient within his role. Last season, he started against the Steelers in Week 17 and had 21 carries for 130 rushing yards.
Look, I am not saying the Steelers are vulnerable against the pass. They are definitely not. In fact, they are allowing the sixth-fewest passing yards per game. With that said, they do tend to allow bigger passing plays. This season, the Steelers are allowing only 19.7 completions per game, which is the fifth-fewest, but they are also allowing 11.1 yards per completion, which is only 24th in the league.
Additionally, the Steelers have allowed 11 passing touchdowns this season. Their opponent’s average yards per passing touchdown is 20.7 yards.
Last Sunday, A.J. Brown beat their secondary for a 73-yard touchdown.
The Ravens need to maximize Brown’s speed on the outside against them. He has the potential to make a big play this week.