With AFC North supremacy on the line, this game has huge implications for not only this week but the rest of the season.
With AFC North supremacy on the line, this game has huge implications for not only this week, but the rest of the season.
Baltimore is favored to win by around four points on most sportsbooks, so let's take a look at how the Steelers can solidify themselves as the team to beat in their division.
3. Strike First
Pittsburgh has scored first in every game this season except for their opener against the Giants. Even though they lost their lead to the Texans and have only managed field goals in some cases, putting points up on the opening drive is crucial against an explosive Ravens team.
Last week, Pittsburgh managed to kill over nine minutes on their first drive. By methodically driving down the field, the team dictated the pace of the game early and wore out the Titans defense. This quick start rattled Tennessee and allowed the Steelers to score 24 points in the first half.
To beat Baltimore, the Steelers should attempt to replicate their first possession from last week’s game. If they can do that successfully, look for them to have another big first half.
2. Prevent Big Plays on Defense
For having such a successful and talented defense, the Steelers love to give up the occasional big play.
Miles Sanders broke free for a 74-yard touchdown against Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, and A.J. Brown evaded defenders and scored a momentum-shifting 73-yard touchdown last week.
That cannot happen against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
Brown’s touchdown seemingly let the air out of Pittsburgh's tires last week. Even if the Titans scored on that series with a normal length drive, the comeback attempt would have been much more difficult since momentum wouldn’t have shifted in such a drastic way.
Pittsburgh never really looked the same after that score.
It is much easier said than done, but Pittsburgh cannot allow a long touchdown in this game. With their lackluster second-half performances this season, it is just a matter of time before a big touchdown leads to a disastrous result.
1. Don’t Fall Asleep in the Second Half
Shaky second-half performances against Philadelphia, Denver and Tennessee, likely took years off of the lives of their fans. I guess winning in dramatic fashion is fun to the Steelers, blowing teams out is boring.
Even with a 24-7 lead at the half, Pittsburgh managed only a field goal in the final 30 minutes of play. Meanwhile, the Titans scored 17 points in the half.
Shaky second-half performances against Philadelphia, Denver and Tennessee likely took years off of the lives of their fans. I guess winning in dramatic fashion is fun for the Steelers.
Baltimore’s only loss of the season was against the Chiefs, and there is a reason that experts and fans are skeptical to say that the Steelers are the true kings of the AFC North.
A complete game against Baltimore will help quiet the doubters and critics.
Yes, Tennessee is a great team, but that was just a regular test. This week’s game against the Ravens is more like a midterm for the Steelers.
The game has the potential to decide how Pittsburgh is viewed going forward before a relatively easy part of their schedule consisting of Dallas, Cincinnati and Jacksonville begins next week.
To pass the midterm, all the Steelers need to do is close out the game and finish what they started.