The Steelers are looking for their third straight victory, and here are four questions they will have to answer if they want to beat the Ravens.
The Steelers have scrapped together a pair of wins over the past few weeks, and they somehow find themselves still in the playoff hunt. Their road gets a bit tougher, as they face a premiere team when healthy in the Ravens. That said, they are struggling with injuries once again, and Pittsburgh could pull off a third straight win.
Despite winning three of their past four games, the Steelers are still struggling with a lot of the issues that plagued them earlier in the season. While their first-half team is playing better, they have consistently fallen apart in the second half. The Ravens can exploit that, even if they are without Lamar Jackson. Here are four questions the Steelers must answer this week.
Can the Steelers limit Mark Andrews?
Mark Andrews is one of the premier receiving tight ends in the league and is a regular target hog in this run-heavy offense. While he isn’t having the elite season he is accustomed to, he is still a huge issue to deal with in the passing game. He should be one of the primary targets for whoever is leading this Ravens team.
The Steelers have had some success with Andrews in the past, but they don’t have a standout linebacker that can cover Andrews as they have had before. I hope Robert Spillane isn’t the plan, because that is a recipe for disaster. The defense needs to have a plan in place to keep Andrews in check this week.
Can the Steelers running game keep on rolling?
The single biggest change for the Steelers since the bye week has been the effectiveness of their running game. The line has continuously taken steps forward this season to open lanes. Najee Harris has been more focused on taking what has been given to him and using his power to get extra yards.
The Ravens boast one of the best run defenses in the league though, and it won’t be easy to see this run game be as efficient as it has in weeks past. Harris needs to continue to be aggressive with his north-to-south runs and avoid waiting on a hole. This passing game can’t be the focus for the offense, and if the run game falters, this team is doomed.
Can the Steelers limit the Ravens run game?
There is no better rushing offense in the league than the Ravens. Even without Jackson at the helm, Tyler Huntley can succeed on the ground. Throw in this team’s seemingly endless rotation of running backs, and Baltimore’s success depends on their run game.
The Steelers run defense has been hit-and-miss this season, but they need to be at the ready this week. If the Ravens run all over Pittsburgh this week, there will be little chance for the team to pull out the win. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the Steelers must force the Ravens to win through the air this week.
Can the Steelers play a full game?
As mentioned earlier, the Steelers have developed a nasty trend of finding first half success before becoming inefficient in the second half. While it has allowed for some wins against mediocre teams, the Ravens boast a lot of talent all over their team. A second half meltdown will lead to a loss for this team if it occurs.
The Steelers need a complete game this week if they hope to have a shot at winning on Sunday. A second half filled with short offensive drives will not yield this team’s sixth win. Frankly, I’m not sure they can figure this out though. For four straight games, their second halves have been bad. It’s a trend that needs to be bucked this week.
The Steelers have a shot at inching closer to an even record and a potential playoff berth. That said, this team is still filled with issues that haven’t been resolved yet. The Ravens pose a big threat, and this team needs to play a whole game to ensure a win this week.