Ravens vs. Steelers Keys To The Game:
1. Know where Troy Polumalu Is: If you want to have an effective offense against the Steelers defense first and foremost you have to account for number 43. Polumalu is the heart and soul of the Steelers defense, and while you can’t stop him entirely, you try to minimize the impact he has. Joe Flacco can’t get cute and try to challenge Polumalu, or he is likely to watch the ball go the other way. Also, if there is a running back staying into block, he needs to first make sure Polumalu isn’t coming on the blitz.
2. Get Suggs Free: The Steelers only weakness is their offensive line, so the Ravens need to attack it with a vengeance. They need to run multiple blitz formations and looks, as well as overloading certain areas. Basically the Ravens need to do anything to help disguise/free up Terrell Suggs to rush the quarterback. For the Ravens to win they will need to come up with some big stops and turnovers, and the best chance of that is if Suggs is getting constant pressure.
3.Challenge the Pittsburgh Corners: The Steelers biggest defensive weakness is their corner backs. While overall they are solid, they rely more on having a great pass rush, than actual talent. The Ravens have a favorable match up here and they need to exploit it. You don’t run against Pittsburgh, so you have to find a way to pass against them. If the Ravens can give Flacco enough time he can some big chucks of yards against the Steelers corners (though beware of what side of the field Polumalu is on).
1. Stop Suggs and Ngata: Ed Reed is a constant threat to pick one off, and Ray Lewis still gets it done as an inside linebacker, but Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata are the true stars of this defense. They account for 2/3 of the teams sacks, and Ngata is one of the best run stoppers in the league. If you key in too much on them, the Ravens do have other talent that will make the big play. Pittsburgh will need a big game from their offensive line, as well as using tight ends and fullbacks to chip Suggs coming out of the backfield. If Pittsburgh can minimize their impact, Roethlisberger should be able to handle the rest.
2. Don’t Abandon The Run: The Ravens might not be the easiest team to run against, but as Jamaal Charles showed last weak you can get some big gains against them. Pittsburgh can’t afford to be one dimensional in this game, so they have to at least show signs of a rushing attack. Pittsburgh won’t be able to win this game on the ground alone, but they need to have something. An effective running game will be key to controlling the clock some and giving their defense a rest. At the same time it could help some up a few play action passes.
3. Bring the Heat: Blitzburgh needs to be out in full force today for the Steelers to win. The Ravens might have a pretty good offensive line, but Pittsburgh’s defense is still good enough to get to Joe Flacco. If the Steelers can’t get to Flacco, he will be able to pick apart the Steelers corners, but if they do Pittsburgh should be in the drivers seat for this game. Flacco is developing into a top notch quarterback, but he still struggles mightily against the blitz, in particular the Steelers blitz that will come from anywhere.