NFL Week 7 Preview: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Baltimore Ravens (3-3) must shake off a narrow home loss to the Green Bay Packers and pay a visit to the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4), who finally put one in the win column by shutting down the New York Jets.
NFL Week 7 Matchup: Ravens at Steelers; 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS
Ravens-Steelers Spread: Steelers -2
Ben Roethlisberger edges Joe Flacco by one career Super Bowl win, but is at the same deficit in terms of Super Bowl MVP hardware. Neither have lit the world on fire thus far as losses of key weapons (Mike Wallace, Dennis Pitta) have shown damaging effects on their offenses as a whole. Perhaps most crippling for each unit has been the sagging run games; Pittsburgh came out of the bye ranked dead-last with Baltimore not far behind.
A defensive struggle could very well the order of the day, and with these foes why not. Ike Taylor and Lawrence Timmons provide strong opposition for Baltimore’s two credible (healthy) receiving weapons in Torrey Smith and Ray Rice. Pittsburgh showed encouraging signs against New York but run up against a Ravens defense that seems superior to last season’s title-winning unit.
Key Matchup: Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil vs. edge of Steelers’ OL
Unlike other offensive slumps in recent years, the miserable start to the Steelers’ 2013 campaign couldn’t be pinned directly on the offensive line. Frankly, it’s significantly outperformed what Baltimore’s gotten up front through six weeks. Still, left tackle has been a problem spot Pittsburgh addressed by benching Mike Adams against the Jets, and right tackle Marcus Gilbert is no world-beater.
Dumervil and Suggs have managed to take over games this year when it has opposing tackles on the ropes — see fourth-quarter footage from the Miami win — and Suggs has gotten plenty familiar with Roethlisberger in the past.