Joe Flacco 6/10
Flacco is coming off one of the best performances of his career, as he threw for 341 yards and had four total touchdowns last week. However, that game was at home, where Flacco puts up much better numbers. He also got to take on the Oakland Raiders‘ porous defense, so that was another contributing factor to the big game.
The sledding now gets exponentially tougher as Flacco goes on the road to take on the NFL’s top-rated pass defense. Throw in the fact that the Steelers and Ravens traditionally don’t play in high scoring shootouts and it appears Flacco should come down to Earth after last week’s explosion.
Prediction: 230 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
Ray Rice 7/10
Rice had a very disappointing game last week for fantasy owners. He did find the end zone, but yardage-wise it was his worst output of the season. Rice is only averaging 53.5 yards on the ground in his last four meetings with the Steelers, so this isn’t a team he has had consistent success against. Throw in the fact that the Steelers boast the sixth-rated run defense, and it could be another mediocre day for Rice. However, with the Steelers being short-handed on both sides of the ball, it could lead to a better day for Rice.
Prediction: 65 yards rushing, 1 touchdown, 20 yards receiving
Torrey Smith 7/10
Smith had a big game last week with 67 yards and two touchdowns, but like Flacco, this game will be a much bigger challenge for the wide receivers as well. Smith figures to be covered by Steelers’ top cover cornerback Ike Taylor, so Smtih will have his hands full battling the cagey vet. Smith only had 71 yards and one touchdown against the Steelers last season, and paired with his consistency issues, it appears another mediocre game seems to be in order for Smith.
Prediction: 70 yards
Anquan Boldin 8/10
Boldin was the Ravens most productive pass catcher last season against the Steelers, as he led the team in receiving yards both times these teams met. Boldin scored one of his three touchdowns last season against the Steelers, so history is on his side. Assuming Taylor covers Smith, Boldin should again be the beneficiary of the lack of attention from Taylor. Boldin has also been pretty quiet the past three games, so I look for a breakout game from the veteran who makes big plays in big games.
Prediction: 80 yards, 1 touchdown
Dennis Pitta 6/10
Pitta had a much-needed effort last week as he co-led the team in receiving yards and also caught his first touchdown since week 3. However, the combination of facing a stout pass defense and Ed Dickson having his most active game of the season tempers Pitta’s expectations for this game. Play with caution.
Prediction: 50 yards
Ravens D/ST 8/10
Coming off a monster fantasy day that featured two special teams touchdowns as well as numerous other fantasy defensive stats, this unit catches a break as they will be going after Byron Leftwich now instead of Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers appear to have all three of their running backs healthy enough to play for one of the only times all season, so the key will be to shut down the Steelers’ rushing game. If they can slow down the running backs and force Leftwich to beat them, it could be another big day for this unit.
Prediction: 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 13 points allowed