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NFL Baltimore Ravens

6 Baltimore Ravens Players That Must Step Up In Week 7 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

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6 Baltimore Ravens Players That Must Step Up In Week 7 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

raven
Mitch Stringer-USA Today Sports

The Baltimore Ravens are at a crossroads right now at 3-3. The result of this Sunday’s game at Heinz Field against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers could determine which direction the Ravens go. I’ve compiled a list of six players that will need to step up if the Ravens hope to win this huge divisional game. Before that we’re going to see how I fared last week.

In the Week 6 contest against the Green Bay Packers, I came up with a list of seven Ravens players. They were Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Eugene Monroe, Terrell Suggs, Daryl Smith, Elvis Dumervil, and Jimmy Smith.

Smith came up with a huge interception in the end zone that took at least three points away from the Packers. Suggs and Dumervil put decent pressure on Aaron Rodgers for the game, with no sacks though. Smith had a decent game with 10 tackles, but the Ravens' run defense as a whole gave up 120 yards rushing to Packers rookie Eddie Lacy, including his final first down making run which officially put the game away.

Rice struggled big time in this game with a mere 34 yards on 14 carries. Everyone could probably agree if the Ravens were even just average at running the ball in this game that they would have won. Flacco actually had a decent game despite the lack of a running game, throwing for 342 yards and two touchdowns. Monroe was solid in his first start at LT, but he was beaten in a crucial strip sack of Flacco which gave the Packers three points before the half.

These are the six players who will need to step up for this week. As always I welcome any constructive feedback. Enjoy the show.

Dan Abeshouse is a Baltimore Ravens Writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danabeshouse82, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google

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Gino Gradkowski

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA Today Sports

Second year center and first year starter Gino Gradkowski has been a focal point of criticism. Gino has been much more of a downgrade from the now retired Matt Birk than most people thought. You could argue that maybe he's too small for the center position (6-foot-3 300 pounds) or that Juan Castillo's system is the cause of problems or that maybe Gino just isn't talented enough. Another lackluster performance from Gino this week could cost him his starting job to A.Q Shipley in the bye week.

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Ray Rice

rice
Charlers LeClaire-USA Today Sports

The struggles of the Ravens' offensive line have been well documented. That definitely is a factor in the decline of Ray Rice, but Rice himself doesn't seem quite right. Rice has been dealing with a hip injury the past couple of weeks, and it appears that he doesn't have the same explosion that he usually has. Rice has had some big games against the Steelers in the past, and I believe he can reach for that little extra something in this big rivalry game.

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Marlon Brown

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Evan Habeeb-USA Today Sports

A big and physical game like this will require a great performance from a big and physical receiver like Marlon Brown. Anquan Boldin used to be a guy the Ravens looked to in a game like this, but I'm really starting to think Brown could be as good as Boldin down the road. The Steelers will no doubt give Torrey Smith a lot of attention, as they should. Brown will need to take advantage of the one on one situations.

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Terrell Suggs

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Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports

Terrell Suggs could have a field day going against Steelers LT Kelvin Beachum. Levi Brown was to be the new LT of the future for the Steelers, but he suffered a freak triceps injury in warm ups last week. There's a good chance Suggs could add to his lifetime sack total of Ben Roethlisberger, which stands at 15.5 at moment.

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Lardarius Webb

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Evan Habeeb-USA Today Sports

Lardarius Webb had a rough go at it last week against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Webb was burned badly for the Packers' only touchdown in that game, and he will likely be on Antonio Brown most of the game this week. It's imperative that Webb limits the Steelers' best receiver in what should be a low scoring game.

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Justin Tucker

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports

Like I said I think this will be a lower scoring game, and points will be at a premium. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker will have to be perfect in what is considered one of the hardest venues to kick in. These games are usually decided by a field goal, so need I say more?