Ravens V.S. Steelers Preview
The first game of the season against arch rival Pittsburgh comes at a rather hectic time. The news that has broke this week was shocking and very disappointing, but by releasing Ray Rice from their roster the Ravens have perhaps settled any possible distractions that may have arose and have hopefully eliminated the ones that initially did. The Ray Rice case is something that is dealt with off the field. The Ravens know their only worry at this point in time is that team in black and gold they’ll be lining up against tomorrow night.
It is quite obvious the offense cannot afford to be any less productive than they were this past Sunday against Cincinnati. They were disgustingly bad the first half, and by the time they really started to pick up a rhythm, it was too late. The lack of success was a collective failure. Flacco was inconsistent and made poor decisions including mismanagement of certain situations, the receivers dropped their fair share of passes, the line was dominated at the point of attack, and the running backs did very little. With Rice gone, the time has come for Bernard Pierce to finally be as good as he can possibly be in this run-first system, while Justin Forsett should also see his fair share of carries. The receivers, notably, Jacoby Jones, cannot continue to drop potential game-changing passes. With the limited chances to turn around contests nowadays, drops like we saw Sunday could very well be what becomes the difference.
The defense will be the difference, which at this point will probably the determining factor for the remainder of the season should these offensive woes continue. The defense held strong throughout the entire tilt against the Bengals, stopping them multiple times in the redzone to force field goal attempts, even at the expense of three-and-outs and turnovers by the offense. As it was said before, the defense can only hold out for so long until it becomes all but inevitable that they will break. The defense was on the field against Dalton and the Bengal offense for an astounding amount of time, and that will be the death of them tomorrow if the offense doesn’t find a flow. Lardarius Webb will be missed, Chykie Brown did not have a good game Sunday, as he was beat by AJ Green on the 77 yard go-ahead score. The defensive line will also need to be able to generate more penetration to account for Ben Rothlisberger’s mobility and quick decision making. The linebackers looked strong when stopping the run, but the pass coverage must be addressed. With the talent Pittsburgh has in the passing game all players on the second and third level will need to constantly cover these receivers because of a Big Ben’s ability to escape and buy extra time.
The Steelers have a new, refreshing look this season, offensively and defensively. A similar outing to Sunday’s tomorrow night by Baltimore could have them dealing with a winless start.