Steelers vs Ravens: Breakdown, matchups and prediction


Its week 4 of the season and time for an exciting Thursday night matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.  Combine a rivalry of this proportion with the fact that the Steelers will be honoring Jerome Bettis tonight for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and you have the makings of a home crowd that will be ready to bring the house down.


The Steelers come off of a short week to face the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field.  The Ravens are surprisingly 0-3 after a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers are 2-1 after a win in St Louis that saw Ben Roethlisberger go down with a significant injury.

The Steelers go into this game with fingers crossed, hoping that stop-gap quarterback Michael Vick can do just enough not to lose this game.  This weeks outcome, more than any in recent memory,  may come down to Coach Todd Haley’s ability to formulate a game plan that utilizes this offenses weaponry while minimizing Vick’s weaknesses.

Pittsburgh will be playing without the services of Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey and Martavis Bryant.  The Raven will take the field without first round draft pick Breshard Perriman, tight end Crockett Gillmore and all pro linebacker Terrell Suggs.   Steelers Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier  is doubtful.


Antonio Brown vs Baltimore cornerbacks:

Antonio Brown would love to continue his streak of having at least 5 catches and 50 yards per game, but it seems unlikely this week.  Michael Vick has a tendency to throw to his first target and veterans Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb and Kyle Arrington will all be waiting to jump routes if Vick makes it too easy for them.  Look for Todd Haley to add a good amount of high percentage throws and roll outs throughout the evening.

Steelers defensive line vs Baltimore offensive line:

The Steelers rank #5 in sacks so far this year and most of that pressure has come from the Steelers front seven.  The Steelers defense knows that it is going to be paramount for them to step it up this week if they want to walk away with a win.  Look for Coach Butler to crank up the pressure on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco. If Baltimore can neutralize the blitz and the pressure from defensive ends Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, Flacco could spend the night picking apart the Steelers secondary.

 RT Marcus Gilbert vs OLB Elvis Dumervil

Due to his being left-handed, the right side will be Vick’s “blind side” .   Marcus Gilbert has struggled in the past against Elvis Dumervil and the last thing the Steelers need is for Michael Vick to start feeling hurried in the pocket.  The Steelers will probably use a tight end or running back to help out on the left side and chip any pass rush that the Ravens throw at them.

Michael Vick vs Himself

Vick is going to have to do a gut check before this game.  Though he still maintains incredible athletic ability, he is going to have to play the Ravens with the realization that he is an aging quarterback with diminishing skills.  It will be critical for Vick to get the ball out of his hands, whether through quick, high percentage passes, or by relying heavily on the legs of LeVeon Bell.  Bad decisions and fumbles could cost the Steelers this game if Michael Vick plays with his arm and feet instead of with his head.


The Steelers are not the same team without Ben Roethlisberger so obviously Baltimore has a chance to come into Heinz field and monopolize on an opportunity to play this team without their franchise quarterback.

This game is going to come down to two things;  Coach Haley’s game plan and Michael Vicks ability to stick to it.  Too little or too much from Vick could hand the victory over to the Ravens.

If Vick can formulate any type of passing game, it will keep the Ravens defense honest and help the running game.  Leveon Bell and DeAngelo Williams could not only rack up some serious rushing yards but also eat up the clock.  I expect a few options, rollouts, and high percentage passes mixed up with a great deal of running plays.  Look for Bell to sneak into the flat as a safety valve throughout the evening.

Score: Steelers 17-Ravens 10

This game could go either way, but I’m banking on a conservative game plan to keep the mistakes to a minimum.  The Ravens defensive secondary and their offensive line are not very good this year and even a moderately motivated Steelers team could walk away with a victory.

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