Steelers vs Ravens: Breakdown, matchups and prediction


With only two games to go in the 2015 regular season, the Steelers travel to Baltimore to play a weakened version of their division rivals.

When these two teams met in week 4, Pittsburgh was without Ben Roethlisberger and the Ravens held Antonio Brown to his second-worst performance of the year (five catches, 42 yards).   Ben is back and the Steelers offense is hitting on all cylinders.


Ben Roethlisberger missed the Week 4 showdown because of a knee injury, but with Roethlisberger back, the Steelers boast the NFL’s second-best offense. Over the last 6 games they have averaged over 35 points.

Martavis Bryant also missed the earlier matchup due to a suspension. Antonio Brown is on a roll,  topping 100 yards in four of his past six games with a 17-catch, 284-yard performance in Week 9 and 16-catch, 189-yard showing last week.  Brown leads the league in receiving yards (1,586) and is second in catches (116).

Ryan Mallet could be the starter today and if that is the case it would mark the Ravens’ fourth starting quarterback this year since  Joe Flacco was lost in week 11 with a knee injury.   Mallet has a 62.7 lifetime quarterback rating with 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in stints with New England and Houston before signing with Baltimore. Ravens TE Crockett Gillmore was placed on injured reserve last week after accumulating 33 catches for 412 yards and four TDs on the year.

The Pittsburgh defense has been nothing short of schizophrenic, sometimes making opportunistic splash plays but too often finding themselves out of position or failing to use fundamental tackling techniques.  They have taken advantage of a schedule full of teams that have had to use their backup quarterbacks but there has to be some concern about how they can hold up against a top tier QB, if they make the playoffs.

The Ravens defense is a mere shadow of itself. Terrell Suggs is out and Elvis Dumervil only has 6 sacks on the season after posting 17 last year. Where the Steelers have been able to overcome injuries throughout this season, the Ravens have stumbled into the other direction and at this point are just wanting to play the role of playoff spoiler.

The Steelers have  lost nine of their last 12 games in Baltimore. Pittsburgh can clinch an AFC Wild Card spot with a win coupled with a Jets loss.


Steelers WRs Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant vs. Ravens CBs Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright.

The Ravens have struggled all year in pass coverage and that doesn’t bode well against a Steelers offense that is on a roll.   Last time these teams met, ravens cornerback Will Davis was solid, however Davis is now on injured reserve and The Baltimore CB’s will not be facing Michael Vick.   The Ravens should find out (as other teams have) that it’s almost impossible to cover all three of the Steelers wide receivers and TE Heath Miller.

Dec 6, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva.    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers OTs Alejandro Villanueva and Marcus Gilbert vs. Ravens OLBs Elvis Dumervil and Courtney Upshaw

The Steelers have only given up 30 sacks on the season.  One on one I would give this advantage to Baltimore, but the Steelers have been chipping with their tight ends and RB DeAngelo Williams is one of the best blocking RB’s in the game.   Roethlisberger handled the Broncos pass rush last week by getting rid of the ball quickly with short and intermediate passes. If the Ravens can produce any type of pass rush, that will be the Pittsburgh game plan this week also.

Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams vs. Ravens LBs C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith

Williams may be the Steelers most invaluable pickup this last offseason.  His value as a veteran leader off the field and as a replacement for Le’Veon Bell on the field can’t be overstated. He has rushed for 799 yards on 178 carries and carries a reputation for being as tough as they come.  Daryl  Smith leads the Ravens defense with 110 tackles and  C.J. Mosley is second with 95.  The Ravens will try to keep Williams from hitting the perimeter where he does the most damage.  If they can force him inside the tackles it will make their day a lot easier.

Steelers CB’s William Gay and Ross Cockrell vs. Ravens WR Kamar Aiken

Aiken has 62 receptions, 802 yards, and 5 TD’s on the year.  Much like Antonio Brown, Aiken’s bread and butter is his exceptional route running skills.  The Steelers secondary has been an Achilles heel all year, but Cockrell has shown flashes of being a decent cover corner and William Gay is a savvy veteran who knows how to bait quarterbacks into throwing bad passes.


On paper, this game is a complete mismatch. Pittsburgh is peeking while Baltimore is simply looking forward to next season.  Pittsburgh is simply better than Baltimore on offense and defense. The Ravens did win the first matchup, but that was with Flacco, Forsett, and Smith healthy, while Pittsburgh was without Roethlisberger and Bryant.   Also keep in mind that the Steelers are now backed up by the dependable leg of Chris Boswell and not the abysmal kicking of Josh Scobee.

Next: Steelers vs Ravens: Where to watch

The Baltimore defense has allowed over 100 rushing yards for three straight weeks. Pittsburgh starts with the passing game, but DeAngelo Williams hits for the century mark after the game become a blowout.

Steelers 42- Ravens 13