Having already suggested that the outcome of Steelers-Ravens III could boil down to who controls the underneath passing game, I’ll now turn my attention to other key match ups:
James Harrison vs. Michael Oter
As Behind the Steel Curtain’s Neal Coolong pointed out in his Pre Game Zone Blitz, Harrison had his way with Oher during the match up in December, drawing multiple penalties. Oher apparently didn’t look so good against the Chiefs either…
Oher will be looking to rebound, but James Harrison will also kick it up a notch.
- Let’s hope Harrison reek Havoc against Baltimore. Again.
Steelers Offensive Line vs. Terrell Suggs
Suggs put on the kind of dominating performance against the Steelers that we hope to see from Harrison. The Steelers will need to bring Spaeth, Miller or Johnson back to help with protection.
Rashard Mendenhall vs. the Ravens Run Defense
In two contests vs. the Raven’s Mendenhall rushed for 3.2 yards per carry and 2.4. The conventional wisdom is that this is as good as he can get, isn’t it?
Mendenhall has done better against this stout defense. Last year, with Dennis Dixon under center and the Steelers down to one quarterback, Mendenhall ran for 95 yards, on 24 carries.
- The Steelers don’t need Mendenhall to have a big game to win, but if he does have one, it will make a lot of other things easier.
Flacco vs. the Steelers Corners
The Ravens have weapons a plenty for Flacco, and if the leaf readers from Baltimore are to be believed, they think he can pass on the Steelers corners.
- The Steelers don’t need spectacular play from their corners, just smart play.
Mike Wallace vs. the Ravens Secondary
Here is how Mike Wallace has faired against the Ravens:
- Mike Wallace did not catch a pass in his first game against the Ravens, which the Steelers lost.
- He burned them for 3 for 83 yards including one 45 yarder in his second game against the Ravens, which the Steelers won.
- With Charlie Batch under center he only caught 2 passes for 24 yards in this year’s first meeting, which the Steelers lost.
- Last time around Wallace caught 5 passes for 76 yards and the Steelers won.
Notice a trend here? Yes. Is it a coincidence? Don’t bet on it.
- To beat the Ravens, the Steelers need a big game from Wallace, and they need him to do something he has yet to do – score.
It will be one heck of a game folks – enjoy the ride. I’ll post more tomorrow as time allows.