After many postponements and threats of cancellations, the Pittsburgh Steelers will finally be taking on the Baltimore Ravens in week 12 on Wednesday at 3:40 pm. However, this matchup will be very different than we expected as numerous Ravens are on the COVID-19/Reserve list entering the game. Even with all the Ravens out, the game will be intense and close, like all of these matchups are. Here are a few keys the Steelers need to follow if they want to win the game and improve to 11-0.
- Start out Fast
The Ravens have only been able to practice one time before the game Wednesday afternoon. With all the new players and such a long time off from their previous game it is important for the Steelers to get off to a fast start.
Pittsburgh has been a slow starting team this season, but if they let this pesky Ravens stay around a bit early on it could build their confidence and hurt the Steelers chance to win. On the other hand, if the Steelers jump out to an early lead and gain control of the game, they will have a pretty good chance coming away from this divisional battle victorious.
- The Defense Needs to Play Fast
The Steelers defense will be without Stephon Tuitt for the matchup. Tuitt has been having a great season for Pittsburgh so far. The Steelers defense will feel his loss, but it is important for the team to play fast. With the Ravens starting backup Robert Griffin III, it will be the front seven’s job to make his day in Pittsburgh a living nightmare. If the Steelers can make Griffin III feel uncomfortable they can force a few turnovers and really take over the game.
T.J Watt and Bud Dupree will be looking to snuff out any option plays as well. The Ravens are a fast team, and the Steelers will need to be able to keep up with that speed. It starts with the two edge rushers. They need to get into the backfield and stop runs before the backs can bounce outside.
- Take Care of the Football
The Steelers must take care of the football if they want to win. The last time these two teams played Pittsburgh took care of the ball and it sprung them to victory. If Pittsburgh wants to sweep their division rivals they have to do that again. Pittsburgh is missing starting running back James Conner for this game. Stepping in will be Benny Snell Jr. who has had some success carrying the football this season. However, he also has had some fumbling problems. If those fumbling issues persist it could cause trouble for the Steelers.
- Stop the Run
Last time these two teams played, Baltimore gashed the Steelers all day on the ground. Pittsburgh was lucky to win even though they allowed over 200 yards in the run game. If that happens again Pittsburgh will not be successful.
The Ravens will get backs Mark Ingram and J.K Dobbins back for the game as they will have cleared COVID-19 protocols by game time. Dobbins has been starting to get his game rolling as the season has progressed. Pittsburgh’s front seven has to do better this time out or they will suffer their first defeat of the season.
These are my keys to the game for the Pittsburgh Steelers. If they follow these they will have a good shot at beating the Ravens.
My Prediction: Steelers come away with the win