And It Resumes

Intriguing Game- Week Four

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

Steelers: They have been known to come out the gates, click on all cylinders and dominate their opponents and then drop a game that they are supposed to win and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday when they played the Bears. The Steelers just couldn’t get anything going on either side of the ball. What really caught my eye was how Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen were both to simply run all over one of the best defensive front sevens in all of the game. They simply had an off day at the office on Sunday and it’s bound to happen here and there. When I look at the AFC North this year as a whole, the division is down if you really think about it. The Browns are rebuilding and headed in the right direction, the Bengals are struggling and won’t do too much of anything until they decide to get rid of Marvin Lewis and you just never know what Ravens team you’re going to get. The Steelers offense is off to another quick start and the funny thing is Le’Veon Bell hasn’t even made himself comfortable yet after missing all of the preseason so while he continues to establish himself, Martavis Bryant has stepped his game up and I think they have a more potent passing attack with him in the lineup. He’s your prototypical possession receiver that you can lob the ball up too and he’ll find a way to make the grab. He’s great once the ball is in his hands and with him in the lineup, he and Antonio Brown of course give Ben a very scary duo of receivers. Anytime its Ravens week, it’s always a big game and they’ll see their rivals on Sunday.

Ravens: I never know what to make of them and what they’ll do. After week one in which they shut out the Bengals, the defense picked off Andy Dalton four times and they appeared to be back. They would go on to win their next game against Cleveland at home and last week, they apparently stayed in the states because they didn’t show up at all in London. I’ll be completely honest here: Let’s talk about how they were hyped in those first two victories of the year and let’s take those wins for what they really are, freebies. The Browns are still the Browns and the Bengals are looking like contenders, for the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes. Anything that could go wrong for a football team on a Sunday went wrong for the Ravens. They were outcoached, outhustled, committed too many penalties and I saw guys not even attempt to run after a ball-carrier and that’s always been one of my biggest pet peeves when guys don’t show any type of effort. Last week was the worst I’ve ever seen Joe Flacco look, 8 of 18 passes completed, 28 yard passing and he was intercepted twice. He hasn’t been anything special this year and the crazy thing is these are the best weapons he’s had around him as a unit in quite some time. When you have a guy like a Jeremy Maclin, I find it hard to believe that he’s struggling the way he is. They’ll be back home for a rivalry game on Sunday afternoon.

Steelers Player To Watch: Bud Dupree– They drafted him in 2015 with the intention of being a pass rusher, but he’s been so much more. He sets the tone for that front seven. He can rush the passer, get after the guy with the ball so he can make a tackle, be disruptive and collapse the quarterback’s pocket. He gives 110 percent and he’ll take advantage of a Ravens offensive line that’s decimated with injuries right now.

Ravens Player(s) To Watch: Buck Allen and Terrence West– These two here. I need them to both be on their a-games on Sunday. If they can establish the ground game and wear down that Pittsburgh defensive front, good things can happen for this Ravens offense. I’d also use them in the screen game; this could give the Steelers many problems.

Final Analysis: It’s always a battle between these two and there’s no love lost or found. These teams HATE each other, I can’t emphasize it anymore. The key for the Ravens will be a consistent ground game and here’s the beauty of our game: You see what your opponent struggled with and try to incorporate that into your game plan and the Steelers had a lot of trouble in Chicago stopping the run. For the Steelers, the big point of emphasis is a strong pass rush and pressuring Flacco up the middle and the defense needs to step it up after a letdown in week three.

Prediction: Steelers 26 Ravens 21