Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At Pittsburgh Steelers
- QuarterbackThe Ravens looked like a tired and somewhat non-competitive team early in the season, but head coach John Harbaugh has turned the Ravens around. They have won three games in a row and quarterback Joe Flacco has raised his level as well. The Ravens would like nothing better than to walk into Heinz Stadium and beat the Steelers on their home field.The Steelers are a formidable team this season, and they showed evidence of that Monday night when they overcame a 17-0 deficit at Cincinnati to beat the Bengals on a last-second FG. Ben Roethlisberger has been through the wars many times, and while he takes quite a bit of physical abuse, he has thrown for 3,238 yards and 22 TD passes with 13 interceptions.
- OffenseThe Ravens were not productive early in the year as Flacco was largely an ineffective passer, but he has turned that around and his receivers have started to come through. Jeremy Maclin has gotten used to his surroundings and teammates, and he has caught 36-391-3, while Mike Wallace has added 34-487-3. Alex Collins has become a productive running back.The Steelers have the most talented offensive unit in the league, and when Antonio Brown Le’Veon Bell are even close to the top of their game, there is not stopping them. Bell demonstrates great patience and even better power when running with the ball, while Brown is the NFL’s best receiver. Rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster may have to answer for his brutal hit on Cincinnati’s Vontaze Burfict.
- DefenseThe Ravens have been playing sensational defense and they lead the league with three shutouts this season. The Steelers are coming off a brutal, physical game against the Bengals, and they get right back into it against a defense that loves to hit. Linebacker C.J. Mosley leads the team with 101 tackles and he also has four passes defensed and two interceptions.The Steelers are not about to take a back seat to any defensive team, as they rank third in yards allowed and are one of the most physical teams in the league. The Steelers are hoping that leading tackler Ryan Shazier can make a full recovery after suffering a spinal bruise against the Bengals. Defensive end Cameron Heyward leads the Steelers with 9.0 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Ravens would like every game to come down to special teams because they earn a superior grade on an every-week basis. In addition to having a dangerous return team, they have the best clutch placekicker in the league in Justin Tucker, who has made 26-of-29 FG attempts this season.The Steelers are confident that Eli Rogers can give them a boost in the return game, but head coach Mike Tomlin will send Brown out to make explosive returns. PK Chris Boswell has made 28-of-31 FG attempts and he excels in game-winning situations.
The Ravens were embarrassed on their homefield earlier in the year, and they would like to return the favor this week. Do not make the mistake of counting Baltimore out of this game.