After staying remarkably healthy for the last couple of seasons the injury gods finally caught up with Ben Roethlisberger. After an initial scare that he might be out for the year, it looks more like four to six weeks which still could put this team in a tough spot both in terms of the division and the playoffs.
What: Baltimore Ravens (0-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1), the Ravens are in uncharted waters under John Harbaugh with three straight tough, opening losses while the Steelers survived in St. Louis to get their second straight win.
Line: Ravens -3
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
When: Thursday October 1st, 2015 825pm ET
TV: CBS Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson on the sidelines.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Rabble TV: I will be calling the game live and interacting with you the fans. Here’s the link to find my broadcast.
Key Injuries: BAL WR Breshard Perriman OUT/Knee, PIT QB Ben Roethlisberger OUT/Knee, LB Ryan Shazier Doubtful/Shoulder
What You Need to Know: William Gay played in his 131th straight game which is the best among all active cornerbacks… Ben Roethlisberger won his 108th career game breaking a tie with Terry Bradshaw… Last week was Big Ben’s 39th career 300 yard passing game… Antonio Brown has now caught a pass in 75 consecutive games… Mike Tomlin improved to 3-0 (2-0 on the road) all-time vs the Rams… Big Ben is now 3012 against NFC opponents.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead 21-17 and are 12-7 at home. Baltimore has won six of the last nine meetings since the Steelers beat the Ravens in the divisional playoff round in 2011. The Steelers are 7-6 in primetime games against Baltimore.
Series Highs Passing: BAL Jeff Blake 336 yards 2002, PIT Ben Roethlisberger 340 yards 2014… Receiving BAL Qadry Ismail 258 yards 1999, PIT Plaxico Burress 164 yards 2001… Rushing Ray Rice 141 2009, PIT Jerome Bettis 137 yards 1997.
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Win
1. Get a Grip Mr. Vick! Even at 35 years old, Michael Vick is still capable of doing some great things but nothing will be more important than him taking care of the football. He’s fumbled the ball 97 times in his career and you can bet the Ravens will target that. Todd Haley can’t put super glue on Vick’s hands but what he can do is create plays that get the ball out of his hands quickly. Look for a focus on the running game and many wide receiver screens to help the situation.
2. “Tight” Coverage. Ravens’ tight ends Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams have combined for 15 receptions and two touchdowns so far in three games. Not overwhelming numbers but lest we forget that the Ravens have used their tight ends successfully in the past against the Steelers. Keith Butler and company need to be prepared for the Ravens trying to get his linebackers on their tight ends.
3. What Can “Brown” Do for You? With all of the talk about Ben Roethlisberger’s absence hurting Antonio Brown you’d think Brown shouldn’t even bother showing up for the game. Not so fast my friend… Don’t expect Haley and Vick to just simply abandon the league’s best wideout. In fact, I think you’ll see a lot of what we saw early in the game on Sunday. I honestly don’t think the Steelers are worried to much about his current receiving streaks but I also feel it won’t be an issue. Look for Vick to find Brown early against a pretty weak Baltimore secondary.
Score Prediction: Ravens 23 Steelers 16
photo courtesy nydailynews.com