5 things you must know about the Steelers Week 8 matchup vs Ravens

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8). Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8). Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48) Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

This is going to be a huge test for T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.

One of the best edge-rushing duos in football is going up against one of the best tackle pairings in the league. This matchup will be intense. Lamar Jackson at some point has to stay between the tackles if he wants the chance to throw the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers. T.J. Watt is going to have to go up against Orlando Brown.

Orlando Brown is the 21st graded tackle by Pro Football Focus. Yet, he is the 15th graded tackle in pass blocking. He isn’t the best in the league. However, he is not far behind at all. He is the best tackle T.J. Watt has played against this year. I give T.J. Watt the edge in this matchup, T.J. is the best pass rusher in the league. The edge he has over Orlando Brown is athleticism. Watt is just too fast and explosive for Brown to be able to keep him out of the backfield consistently.

Bud Dupree is drawing the tougher matchup in Ronnie Stanley. Ronnie Stanley is the 2nd highest pass blocking graded tackle by PFF. Before I make my next point, ESPN has created a new metric for judging pass blocking and pass-rushing. They create a percentage telling how often a pass rusher can beat a blocker in less than 2.5 seconds and how often a blocker can sustain their blocking for 2.5 seconds or over. Ronnie Stanley is first out of all tackles in the NFL for being able to sustain his blocks for 2.5 seconds or longer an astonishing 97% of the time.

Dupree is going to have his work cut out for him and I am giving the edge to Stanley in his matchup. Dupree is an athletic monster and has found ways to use it this season and last. However, this is probably the best pass blocker in the NFL and it would be a tough matchup for even T.J. Watt.

While the Ravens have a great exterior to their offensive line, the interior isn’t as strong. I expect to hear about Cam Heyward, Stephoin Tuitt, and Vince Williams a lot this game as they have the more favorable match ups when rushing the passer. I’m not saying T.J. Watt won’t make his mark, or that Bud Dupree is going to be held out of the backfield all game. However, the bulk of their opportunities to get after Lamar Jackson in this game are going to be when he is scrambling outside the pocket and that is especially true for Bud Dupree. Ronnie Stanley is that good, and if Bud Dupree gets 2 sacks and the Steelers win, then Bud should be walking home with the game ball.