Everything is lining up for the Ravens to put the whooping on the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, extending their AFC North winning streak to thirteen games.
Big Ben will be on the sideline, as his “soft tossing” was not enough to prepare him for the Ravens rematch. Lamaar Woodley is out and ironically he has been on the wrong end of things since he hexed Ray Rice for walking off Heinz Field with one of the Steelers prized yellow rags on his head. Joe Flacco’s best friend Dennis Pitta, ala Tony Romo and Jason Witten, is back. The Ravens are at home where they have been nearly unbeatable. To top it off, Baltimore will be wearing their Black uniforms, which they are undefeated in under John Harbaugh.
Can’t lose, right?
Wrong. The Ravens went into Heinz Field with a conservative offensive game plan that could have been their undoing if the Steelers had a healthy quarterback. The offense primarily ran on first down out of packed in formations. Matt Birk and Jah Reid had trouble holding up in both phases of blocking and the Steelers were able snuff out early runs and force Flacco into low percentage 3rd-and-longs. The Steelers are hoping that the Ravens come in with the same plan as last time because it will mean they have a chance to win a grind-it-out type game.
I don’t believe that this is the best way to attack the Steelers. The Ravens need to spread them out, and they have the personnel to do it.
The November 18th matchup between these teams proved that the Baltimore Ravens offensive line was not good enough to straight up beat the front of the Steelers. It is time for Cam Cameron to acknowledge that and move forward with a different offensive approach.
The Ravens need to create a numbers advantage in the box by using three and four wide sets. Flacco needs to be able to utilize Ray Rice and Torrey Smith in the short passing game. This will alleviate the pressure on the offensive line and get the ball in the hands of the Ravens best playmakers. Mixing in draws, traps, and zone runs out of the shotgun will help keep Pittsburgh on their toes and ensure that the Ravens do not become one dimensional.
Flacco has proven that he can move the ball against the Steelers. If Baltimore can open up the offense and get a lead on Pittsburgh then the game will be over. Charlie Batch isn’t leading a comeback at M & T Bank Stadium.