Steelers vs Ravens: 3 key matchups to watch on Sunday
Steelers Front Seven vs Lamar Jackson
The Ravens and Lamar Jackson come in with the top rushing offense in the NFL averaging over 200 yards a game. What have the Steelers been noticeably inconsistent in? Run defense.
Not only have the Ravens been putting up points and rushing yards, but they have also been pretty effective in the passing game. Lamar Jackson hadn’t thrown an interception since last year until last week when he threw two. His progression has been well noted.
Despite Lamar Jackson’s improvements passing the ball, it is still undisputed where his strength remains: a running threat. Defenses are paranoid and prepare for his running abilities; often getting burned over the top.
We will get to the passing aspect in a bit, but this matchup will focus more on shutting down what he is a threat for the most. The key to beating Lamar Jackson is making his offense one dimensional.
The Chargers last year showed two different types of games: what happens when the Ravens are one dimensional and when they are not. The Chargers were gashed at home late last season as they were defeated by the Ravens.
The second go-around, they made the Ravens look like a sloppy offense by shutting down their running attack and making Jackson second guess himself. This became key as it forced Jackson to throw his way back into the game–which he almost did.
To maximize your chances of defeating the Ravens offense, you have to make Lamar Jackson throw his way to victory. This, of course, is barring your offense can score consistently. Regardless, the Steelers must take away the run game and contain Jackson in the pocket to maximize their chances in controlling the NFL’s first-ranked offense.