NFL Game of the Week: Steelers vs. Ravens

Story posted October 30, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Jeremy Ganes

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in CommRadio’s Game of the Week article after surviving a second-half surge from the Tennessee Titans.

This week, the Steelers take their 6-0 record into Baltimore to face their bitter AFC North rival, the Ravens. The Ravens are 5-1 entering this game, and the matchup will give a significant divisional advantage to whichever team walks away victorious.

These teams have two of the best offenses in football, but Pittsburgh has the advantage here, as their attack is more balanced than Baltimore’s. Though Lamar Jackson is as dynamic as any player in the NFL, he still has room to grow as a passer. The Ravens average less than 200 yards per game through the air, and instead rely on their robust rushing attack, combining a deep running back room with the supreme athleticism of Jackson.

Marquise Brown is a speedy, undersized receiver who can outrun defenders, and Mark Andrews is an automatic catch, but the depth of playmakers behind them leaves a lot to be desired for the Ravens.

The Steelers on the other hand have a bevy of offensive weapons. Rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool has become a feature of the offense in recent weeks, but the Titans managed to contain him. Meanwhile, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson took center stage. At running back James Conner and Benny Snell combine for a strong one-two punch that keeps opposing defenses guessing how each player will be deployed.

The offenses are not the key to this game, however. This game will be all about elite defensive play, and both teams have plenty of hard hitting, athletic studs on that side of the ball.

Pittsburgh has the perfect answer to the running game of Baltimore, a defensive front seven that is only allowing 68.8 rush yards per game. That unit features defensive end Cam Hayward, and linebackers TJ Watt and Bud Dupree.

These two defenses are great, but they specialize in two distinct statistical categories. The Steelers do not allow significant yardage totals, while the Ravens allow significantly more yardage to opponents, but excel at preventing them from scoring.

This has a low scoring game written all over it, the kind of physical, slow-paced slog of a game that would often take place in the old days of the NFL. It isn’t the kind of game most fans are used to now, but if any pair of teams kind of have that kind of game, it is certainly these two intimidating defenses. The point total from Vegas is 46.5, which seems generous for an under play.

Both football clubs are very talented and expertly coached, but the Steelers are the more complete team. If the Ravens can improve significantly at passing the ball to the perimeter of the field, they might be a smart play when the two teams meet again on Thanksgiving Night.

However, the Steelers are the best team in the AFC North, and that is unlikely to change this week. Pittsburgh gets the upset and remains undefeated, while Baltmore suffers another loss to a Super Bowl contender.

Prediction: Steelers 24, Ravens 18

 

Jeremy Ganes is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jlg6097@psu.edu.