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Chances are these Steelers will lose a game this season, but these Ravens could not take them at home in Week 8 and most likely won’t be able to find an answer again in Week 12 at Heinz Field.
Steelers -10 (-110)
|Ravens vs Steelers Information|
|What||Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Where||Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA|
|When||Wednesday, December 2, 2020; 3:40 PM ET|
|How to watch||NBC|
In the second half of the Baltimore Ravens Week 11 loss to the Titans, quarterback Lamar Jackson’s offense was kept out of the end zone while the Ravens defense allowed Tennessee’s star rusher, Derrick Henry, to post 133 yards on the ground plus a touchdown.
In Week 11, the Steelers offense started slowly against the Jags, trailing 0-3 after the first quarter, but their defense once again took total charge of the game and kept the Jaguars to just that field goal while QB Ben Roethlisberger scored 17 of their 27 points in the second quarter on their way to the undefeated franchise’s tenth victory.
These two AFC North franchises have played each other 53 other times (including 4 postseason games), with the Pittsburgh Steelers winning 29 of those games and the Baltimore Ravens winning 24 of the games.
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The Steelers are better against the pass than they are against the run, and that should be good news for a Baltimore team that leads the league in rushing yards per game (161), much of that from starting QB Lamar Jackson creating opportunities when his receivers are well covered, which his replacement, Robert Griffin (see below) will have to do his best to replicate.
With rookie RB J.K. Dobbins out on the COVID reserve squad, the rushing duties fall squarely on the shoulders of Gus Edwards, who is scheduled to start and right now is averaging 4.4 yards per carry this season with 3 rushing touchdowns thus far.
Another huge factor, literally, in the Ravens offense is TE Mark Andrews, the 6’ 5” 256 pound playmaker who has 6 touchdowns on the season already and is averaging almost 12 yards per catch, but with him and all the other tight ends on the roster also out with Covid-19, Baltimore will be forced to play this game without anyone in that position, yet another definite Week 13 disadvantage.
The Steelers will have to figure out how to neutralize Ravens backup QB Robert Griffin III, who gets the start in place of Lamar Jackson while he is going through Covid-19 protocol like fifteen of his teammates are having to do.
Pittsburgh’s defense must stop Griffin on two different levels – as a passer and as a legitimate run threat, and the Steelers are equipped to do both, ranked third against the pass after allowing opposing QBs to throw for an average of just 204 yards per game.
The Ravens on the ground, however, average 161 yards per game, so the Steelers, who typically allow just 103 yards per game, will have to keep Griffin contained in the pocket and prevent him from hurting them in the open field like he tends to do to so many defenses when he gets the ball in his hands.
The Ravens have lost two games in a row and have some fans panicking, especially now that their starting quarterback Lamar Jackson has to sit out due to the Covid-19 outbreak that has sidelined at least 16 of the Baltimore players.
Griffin has only appeared in 3 games this season and has only completed one pass off two attempts, and the pass he did miss was an interception, pumping his interception percentage up to 50, which has his passer rating sitting at 22.9, an indication that he could use more reps rather than he lacks the ability to the job.
RGIII, as Griffin is known, typically completes 63 percent of his passes and he is a speedy threat to run at any given moment, so his job in this one will be to serve as a field general who gets the ball to his playmakers while using he quickness to make sure the Steelers pass rush stays as ineffective as possible.
One of the best parts of the Steelers defense is their pass rush, and one of the main elements of that aspect is linebacker T.J. Watt, a 6’ 4” 252 pound wrecking ball that always seems to find his way to the opposing quarterback.
This season, Watt has some impressive numbers – he is tied for the league’s 3rd most sacks with 9, plus he has 30 quarterback hits and 6 passes defended and 32 total tackles, with 14 of those being for a loss.
Also assisting Watt is his sacking buddy, Bud Dupree, who has the 5th most sacks in the NFL right now with 8 and can be seen on the TV screen just about every time you witness Watt about to take down a quarterback.
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