The Pittsburgh Steelers head into enemy territory to take on the hated Baltimore Ravens. While both teams have struggled with injuries all season, the Ravens have been beyond decimated but they won’t be looking for any excuses and neither will the Steelers.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-10)
Where: M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore, MD
When: Sunday December 27, 2015 1pm Eastern
Weather: 68 degrees and mostly sunny
Line: Steelers -11.5
TV: CBS Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Jamie Erdahl on the sidelines.
TV Coverage Map Courtesy the506.com.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Rabble TV: SCB will be calling the game live and interacting with you the fans. Click here to join the broadcast!
Key Injuries: PIT All players probable of better… BAL Jimmy Smith (thigh) probable
NFL Ranks : Ravens 14th total offense ( 26th Rushing/ 8th Passing)/ 14th total defense ( 11th Rushing/ 14th Passing)… Steelers 2nd total offense (5th Rushing/12th Passing)/22nd total defense (5th Rushing/30th Passing)
What You Need to Know: The Steelers’ William Gay played in his 141st straight game which is the best among all active cornerbacks… Antonio Brown has at least one reception in 82 straight games… Brown also became just the fourth Steeler to record over 500 receptions… Ben Roethlisberger became the first NFL quarterback to have two games with at least 40 completions.
AFC North: Cleveland (3-11) at Kansas City (9-5), Cincinnati (11-3) at Denver(10-4) Mon. night
What’s at Stake: The Steelers can clinch a playoff spot with a victory and a New York Jets’ loss. A Steelers’ loss or Cincinnati win on Monday night gives the Bengals the AFC North title.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead the all-time series 21-18 and are 9-10 all-time in Baltimore. The Ravens have won seven of their last ten against the Steelers.
Series Highs Passing: Jeff Blake 336 yards 202, PIT Ben Roethlisberger 340 yards 2014 Rushing: BAL Justin Forsett 150 yards 2015, PIT Jerome Bettis 137 yards 1997 Receiving: BAL Qadry Ismail 258 yards 1999, PIT Plaxico Burress 164 yards 2001
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Win
Expect the Unexpected. There are two teams in this game but only one has anything to lose. John Harbaugh and the Ravens would love nothing more than making sure the Steelers don’t make the playoffs. That in mind, the Steelers have to be on their toes. Fake punts, fake field goals and who knows what are all at the fingertips of Harbaugh. Special Teams’ Coach Danny Smith has to constantly remind his units to keep their eyes and ears open and the same goes for Keith Butler whose defense should be prepared for anything.
Get DeAngelo Involved Early. Look, any way you get a win in the NFL, you take it. Last week the Steelers threw the ball 55 times which meant very little running action for DeAngelo Williams. Obviously the game dictated quite a bit of what happened but I have to believe Mike Tomlin, Mike Munchak and the offensive line would like to get back to pounding the ball a little. Don’t get me wrong, the Ravens give up a ton of passing touchdowns, but getting DW back into the action is important especially if this team is headed to the playoffs.
Pressure Here and Pressure There. There was a lot of talk about the lack of communication in the secondary last Sunday in the first half and while that was true it wasn’t the only issue. Once the Steelers made the switch to get Brandon Boykin in the slot, William Gay to the outside and Antwon Blake to the bench, things got better. This was two-fold because the DBs were allowed to play tighter and the pass rush started to make an impact. The Ravens still have a decent offensive line so the Steelers need to ramp up the pressure but Keith Butler can’t wait for things to go bad in the secondary before using more pressure there either. Bottom line? Keep it coming all day long.