Game Preview: Ravens Are Ticked Too

The Steelers are looking for revenge, but the Ravens have unfinished business.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, November 6th, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, Week 9 vs Steelers

While the Steelers kept a muzzle on revenge-seeking comments this week, it’s hard to believe there aren’t simmering feelings after taking a 35-7 beating in Baltimore about two months ago.

Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs certainly anticipates some.

“They are definitely going to have some ‘let’s get after them’ to their game,” Suggs said.

But guess what, the Ravens are still ticked too.

“In hindsight, who knocked us out of the playoffs last year?” Suggs said. “In 2008, a certain team beat us to go to the Super Bowl and danced all over the field, held up the AFC Championship trophy. We had to sit by and watch that.

“It’s a little salt on the wounds on both sides.”

Baltimore has drawn the freshest blood in this rivalry, but it takes more than one win to erase the anger the Ravens still have built up over the past three years.

The Ravens took three losses at the Steelers’ hands in 2008. Then a defeat at home last year when the Ravens seemed to have the game, and possibly the division crown in their grasp.

And now they’ll go back to Heinz Field for the first time since last year’s divisional playoff loss in which they saw a 14-point halftime lead fade away.

Baltimore will enter as the underdog – according to the national media’s picks – for the first time this season. It’s a position the Ravens traditionally take well to.

“We’re still pissed,” defensive end Cory Redding said. “The way we played in the first game made a statement. The way we’re going to play in this game is going to back up that statement.”

3 Matchups To Watch

OLB Terrell Suggs vs. LT Max Starks
No player has sacked Ben Roethlisberger more than Suggs (15.5 times), and it’s a large reason why Big Ben has been held in check in recent matchups. Suggs hasn’t faced Starks for the past couple meetings though because the tackle has been injured. Re-signed midseason, Starks has solidified the left tackle spot for Pittsburgh. This week, Suggs said he “always thought Max was really good.”

LT Bryant McKinnie vs. OLB James Harrison
It appears that Harrison will be back this week for the Steelers, and without LaMarr Woodley he’ll be their chief sack artist. McKinnie literally ran over Harrison starting with the first play from scrimmage in Week 1, helping pave the way for 170 Ravens rushing yards. Harrison’s back was still healing then, however, and he could be healthier after time off due to his injured eye.

CB Lardarius Webb vs. WR Mike Wallace
Webb seemed to get under Wallace’s skin this week by saying second-year Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown was better than the explosive speedster. Wallace retorted by saying, “Who is that guy?” Don’t be fooled, these two players know each other very well from past meetings. Webb has held the Steelers’ top playmaker from breaking a long one so far.

3 Questions To Answer

Which offense is the Ravens’ offense?
Baltimore’s offense went Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hyde last week against the Arizona Cardinals, falling flat in the first half, then storming back in the second. Whether the Ravens beat the Steelers will largely depend on which one shows up in Pittsburgh. The unit has to find more consistency and get off to better starts than it has in the past two games.

How much no-huddle and shotgun will Cam Cameron employ?
The Ravens’ offensive coordinator went almost exclusively out of the shotgun against the Cardinals in the second half last week and much success. But it’s not realistic to put Joe Flacco in that position – where his stats are worse than under center – all the time. If the Ravens can start picking up first downs early in drives, that allows them to turn up the tempo. How much will they?

Can the defense get seven turnovers like Week 1?
OK, that’s most likely not going to happen again. But the Ravens’ defense is among the league-leaders in turnovers this year (16) and knows it would greatly help its offense by winning that battle in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have made it hard recently, turning the ball over just two times during their current four-game winning streak. Pittsburgh’s defense uncharacteristically has just three turnovers this season.

Team Rankings

RAVENS
Total Offense – 341.0 (14)
Rush Offense – 107.0 (19)
Pass Offense – 234.0 (15)
Points Per Game – 33.3 (24)

Total Defense – 263.3 (1)
Rush Defense – 89.1 (3)
Pass Defense – 174.1 (3)
Points Per Game – 15.7 (2)

STEELERS
Total Offense – 388.8 (9)
Rush Offense – 115.4 (14)
Pass Offense – 273.4 (8)
Point Per Game – 22.0 (19)

Total Defense – 270.8 (2)
Rush Defense – 99.1 (8)
Pass Defense – 171.6 (1)
Points Per Game – 17.4 (3)

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