Ravens at Steelers Guru

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  • The Steelers have lost four in a row to the Ravens and six of seven dating back three years, including a home playoff defeat two seasons ago.The Ravens haven't won a road game since Sept 25. They are 0-4 away from home since then. Their road wins were against the Browns and Jaguars. I think the Steelers are improving and the Ravens aren’t getting better down the stretch.

    Run the ball and stop the run . . . how many times have we heard this phrase as the key to winning in football? This week’s match-up epitomizes this adage, but with a little bit of a twist. How committed the Ravens will be to running the ball will reveal if they believe they can take advantage of a defensive line missing both starting defensive ends. Joe Flacco has more pass attempts than anyone except Drew Brees. Flacco ranks 27th in the NFL in yards per passing attempt (6.54) and 25th in quarterback rating (84.8) and his 13 interceptions are tied for the seventh most in the league. They also are the second most he's ever thrown in a season. Even after Marty Mornhinweg replaced Marc Trestman, the Raven have remained a pass-oriented team.

    Last week, the Ravens ran the ball for over 100 yards as a team, with Terrence West picking up 77 yards on 13 carries, but a large chunk of the Ravens rushing total came from one long run by West and a 39-yard jet sweep by wide receiver Michael Campanaro.

    I believe the Steelers defense will continue to play sound defense against the run, tackle well, and be successful in the red zone. This combined with the Ravens proclivity to pass will result in the Steelers limiting the Ravens to 23 points, two touchdowns and three field goals. Sacks by Dupree, Harrison and Hargrave; interceptions by Ryan Shazier and Sean Davis.

    Even though the Ravens rank high in run defense, cracks are beginning to show. The Ravens gave up 95 yards rushing to New England and the Eagles pounded them for 169 yards on 38 carries, enabling the Eagles to win the time of possession battle by 13 minutes. The Steelers are going to stay committed to the multiple tight end formations and the running game. Half of Le’Veon Bell’s carries this season have come with at least two tight ends and about one-third of those carries occurred from a three tight end formation. Look for this trend to continue, even without LaDarius Green.

    The Eagles hardly threw the ball down the field last week, but the Ravens played most of the game with a two high safety look, almost daring the Eagles to run. If they play the run this way against the Steelers, look for large rushing numbers to be put up by Bell and others. If they bring a safety into the box, especially without Jimmy Smith at corner, look for a couple of big plays downfield. In fact, I think Sammie Coates gets behind the defense for a long TD pass.

    A friend of a friend tells me the Steelers have worked on formations featuring Bell & Williams in the backfield, including one with Nix as well. They can run as well as pass out of it, with Bell and/or Williams (or both) motioning out, and one variation that looks like the triple option. I think we are going to see a lot of outside zone runs, and pulling guards getting to the second level. Look for at least one DeCastro on Suggs slobberknocker. The Ravens defensive lineman are very big and a couple of reports I have read say they appear to be wearing down.

    The absence of Jimmy Smith will make passing very tempting to Haley & Ben. If Smith misses his second straight game, the Ravens will replace him with Shareece Wright, who has allowed six touchdowns in 10 games, according to Pro Football Focus. The last time Steelers played the Ravens with Roethlisberger, Bell and Brown in the lineup at home, Roethlisberger threw for 340 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jimmy Smith didn’t play in that game. I won’t predict that type of performance, but I believe the Steelers will put up 34 points, 4 touchdowns and two field goals. Touchdowns by AB, Bell, Coates and Xavier Grimble.

    The Steelers earn their 600th win as an NFL franchise, as well as the AFC North title, 34 – 23 over the Ravens.

    "In short, in life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don't foul and don't shirk, but hit the line hard!"
    Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life (1900)

    The post was edited 2 times, last by One Side Only ().

  • I have to modify my prediction a bit. Sammie Coates was limping today and was limited in practice with a hamstring injury that could keep him out this Sunday. He certainly won't be getting open for deep shots down the field. I hope DHB can go on Sunday, otherwise we might have a Demarcus Ayers sighting.

    "In short, in life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don't foul and don't shirk, but hit the line hard!"
    Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life (1900)

  • The Ravens are 30th in the NFL in converting 3rd downs and I just don't see Moonball improving on that this weekend. I'm not a fan of Coates, he doesn't use his strong upper body to fight for the ball, he doesn't extend his arms away from his body to catch the ball, rather he wait for the ball to come to him. Then you have to hope he catches it. Besides that, he moves like a 2x10..stiff as hell. I'll take Cobi Hamilton over Coates. He has proven to be a more reliable pass catcher imo.

    Steelers 31

    Ravens 20

  • OSO....no way we can put up 34 points against them.......but I hope you're right....Lemon

    This game looks a lot like the 2014 game in which the Steelers put up 43 points. The missing piece is Martavis Bryant, but Bell and Blount split carries in that game, each getting just 10, with Bell getting an additional five touches on pass receptions. Bell plays such a big role in the offense now, and the Ravens don't really have an answer for him. If you look at the Eagles - Ravens game, the Eagles pushed the Ravens defense around, and made C. J. Mosley look quite ordinary. I really like the Steelers offensive live vs the Ravens front seven, especially if the Ravens continue the trend of playing two deep safeties. Terrell Suggs hasn't recorded a sack in the last three games, so there may be something to the idea that the Ravens front seven is wearing down during the stretch run.

    To me, the 2016 Steeler offense is much better than the 2014 version, even with a true deep threat missing. Factor in the absence of the Ravens best corner, and I believe the Steelers can eclipse the magic 30 number they set as a goal for themselves at the beginning of the season. If they don't quite get there, it may be due to an effective running game that eats clock, and I think that would be ok with them.

    I believe we will see a game plan similar to the one employed at Buffalo, lots of no huddle initially to keep the Ravens from substituting. The biggest mismatch of the day will be Bell vs. a linebacker in coverage. Bell is the second best receiver on the team, and Ben will get him the ball 30 times if not more. I'm anxious to see how DeAngelo Williams gets involved. I love the idea of both running backs in the game at the same time, with two tight ends and just one receiver. It looks like a running formation all the way, but the play action potential is tremendous. AB will still have to be doubled, or he becomes the immediate hot read and he can turn a quick slant into a long gain in a flash. Even with Bell as the only running back, I think play action will be used quite a bit, even before the running game gets going. I would not be surprised if the first play of the game is a play action pass deep. This will show that the Steelers want to throw the ball deep, and keep the 8th defender out of the box. If the Ravens are successful in stopping the run without an extra defender at the line of scrimmage, then this will be a long night for the Steelers and turn into a low-scoring test-of-wills type of game that can go either way.

    I don't put much stock in momentum, or the Ravens winning most of the recent games. I certainly don't think the earlier game this season will have any bearing on the outcome of this one; that was Ben's first game back, the defense is playing a whole lot better than it was, and the Ravens haven't played well on the road all year. Throw in what seems to be some dissension between Harbaugh and his second offensive coordinator this season, Joe Flacco's penchant for throwing picks at critical moments, and the December Heinz Field atmosphere, and I feel pretty good about the outcome.

    "In short, in life, as in a football game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don't foul and don't shirk, but hit the line hard!"
    Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life (1900)

  • The hospital ward that is the Steelers depth chart is finally too much to overcome. Ben's array of inexperienced receivers don't see what he sees and there are crucial missed connections and a few interceptions. Bell and Williams are bottled up by the Ravens wall o beef up front and no passing game to back off the linebackers and safeties.

    On defense the combination of west ands Dixon just wears out the Steelers thinned out front wall.

    A low scoring brutal affair never gets out of hand but Ravens are in control most of the day.

    Ravens 20
    Steelers 13

  • pretty soon I am going to be accused of playing favorites or something ....

    fact is I am not ... lets look at this a second 58 total points ... steelers over 30

    OSO had 57 total points ( 34 by steelers)

    Shoes was dead on for Steelers at 31 but sold the ravens a bit to short making OSO closer to actual outcome ...

    so as it is I think the crystal ball of OSO continues and another :guru: in in order

    "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Ben Franklin

  • Shoes gets my vote because of being dead on the Steelers score. The point differential between Shoes and OSO is the same. My two cents.

    "this place is a bit like Atlas Shrugged" ---Lemonhead

    "I think we're going to need a bigger boat"

    "Oh George, not the livestock"!