The Steelers return home for some AFC North action on Thursday night to face the hated division rival Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers are dealing with the loss of Ben Roethlisberger with his knee injury and the Ravens are dealing with their worst start in their franchise history.
Steelers fans and Ravens fans alike are wondering if those two conditions will alter the slugfest these games have known to become over the years.
Throughout the season Still Curtain will be taking you inside to get the dirt on the opposing team through the FanSided network. We’ll be interviewing the opposing teams’ site to get you the inside info on the opposition.
Up next is Brett Foote, editor of Ebony Bird, the Baltimore Ravens-themed site for FanSided. Brett gives us the info on everything from the Ravens’ slow start, how this game will might stack up against previous games in this storied rivalry and a prediction with score for the game.
The Ravens have had their worst start to a season in their franchise history. How much of that has to do with the offense adjusting to yet another offensive coordinator? How much of it could be the loss of a player like Terrell Suggs on defense?
The Ravens have had a revolving door at the offensive coordinator position, and Trestman is their 4th in the last 4 years. The biggest problem they have faced in the transition from Gary Kubiak to Trestman is the fall off in offensive line play. Despite returning all five starters from last year’s stellar unit, the o-line has struggled immensely through 3 games. The Ravens simply can’t pass protect or run block right now.
They also don’t have a viable pass catcher outside of Steve Smith, and no running back has stood out. Even though Smith is playing out of his mind, you have to think that he can’t do it for 16 weeks at the age of 36. They desperately need Breshad Perriman to get healthy.
The loss of Suggs is a huge blow, but so far the defense hasn’t missed a beat in regards to the front seven. The Ravens’ run defense is still dominating, and the pass rush has been OK. The problem lies in the backfield, where the Ravens’ DB’s have been getting burned the last two weeks, giving up huge chunk plays.
Joe Flacco was quoted as saying that he wishes Ben Roethlisberger were playing in this game. Do Ravens fans feel the same way?
No real fan wants to see guys get hurt, even when they play for your most hated rival. Ravens/Steelers is a premium matchup no matter what each team’s record is, and these games are always fun to watch for any football fan. Having said that, after starting 0-3, Ravens fans have to feel a little relieved they don’t have to see Big Ben out there Thursday night. The bottom line is it gives them a better shot at a win.
With the injuries on the Steelers side and the Ravens starting off slowly, do you think this game stacks up in intensity to previous games in this rivalry?
I think that this game will be a slug fest no matter what. There are a lot of other reasons to watch as well – Steelers fans will want to see how Michael Vick will fare in Ben’s absence, and Ravens fans are desperate for a win. Both teams have a big sense of urgency coming into this game, though the Steelers’ is obviously not as high as they sit at 2-1.
What is the outlook for the Ravens the rest of the season? Is it too early to call it a “rebuilding” year?
I have a hard time believing that they won’t turn things around, but rebounding from 0-3 to a playoff bid isn’t going to be easy by any means. If the offensive line can rediscover its form from last year, this team can compete. If they don’t, it’s going to be 2013 all over again (or worse). Without a viable running game or deep threat at receiver, this offense isn’t going anywhere.
What is your prediction with score for the game?
I feel like the Ravens are going to show up for this one because they have to, and will pull it off by the score of 24-17. Vick has been a turnover machine the last several years. It will be critical for the Ravens to get some points on the board early, because I’m guessing the Steelers will try to limit their passing attempts and feed Le’Veon Bell. If the Ravens can jump to a quick lead and force Vick to throw, things could get ugly.
There you have it, Steeler Nation. What questions would you have asked?
Check out Ebony Bird for my answers to Brett’s questions on the Steelers.
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!
More from Still Curtain
- Steelers face potentially dark reality if Matt Canada doesn’t pan out
- Senior Bowl sleepers the Steelers must have on their radar
- One simple change Omar Khan must make for the Steelers draft
- Veteran quarterbacks the Steelers should sign this offseason
- Are we ready to admit Najee Harris was a bad pick for Steelers?