NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens Preview

Welcome to the most comprehensive Pittsburgh Steelers Game Day Preview on the internet! NGSC Sports brings you your one stop shop for everything you need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich of Pittsburgh SportsNation brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a Game Story, Steelers Path to Success, Score Prediction, Game Information, a detailed breakdown of each team, Individual Stats, and Team Stats. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!

 

STEELERS LOOK TO OPEN UP OFFENSE AND CONTAIN THE RAVENS LAMAR JACKSON

The Pittsburgh Steelers took care of business last week against the Cincinnati Bengals in a much needed 27-3 victory.

Now the team has a good chance to be tied for 1st place at the end of week five if all goes well.

The Steelers (1-3) will be at home against their bitter rivals from Baltimore, who sport a 2-2 record, but have dropped their past two contests, and in epic fashion to boot. The once vaunted Ravens defense was gashed time and time again vs the Chiefs and Browns, who put up 503 and 530 total yards, respectively, in those losses.

The Steeler offense looked good on paper, as Mason Rudolph completed 24 of 28 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. He was not touched once by a Bengals defender the entire game.

The team also located the services of Jaylen Samuels, as suggested in last week’s preview. Samuels ran for 26 yards and a score, caught eight passes for 57 yards, and even completed three of three passes out of the wildcat.

The Steelers outgained the Bengals 326-175. The defense was outstanding, nabbing up a fumble recovery and an interception, as well as eight sacks.

Still, it seemed as if Rudolph was being forced to play it safe, as only 11 of those completions went to wide receivers, including just three to Juju Smith-Schuster, for 15 yards.

The short passing game, and the wildcat was a success on this day, but going forward, if this team is going to contend for the AFC North division title, they will have to open the offense sooner or later, and allow the strong armed Rudolph to play up to his talents.

Rudolph is convinced that day is coming, especially to his favorite target while they were at Oklahoma State in James Washington, who did not catch a pass last week.

“It’s just kind of happened that way,” Rudolph said Thursday. “Different people step up. … It’s just a matter of time before you get the right look and you get connected.”

Washington has just six receptions for 88 yards this season, and both he and the team had much higher expectations after he lit up the preseason and was Pittsburgh’s best player.

“There’s no particular reason, and I’m not surprised,” offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said. “When it comes, it comes. They have hooked up. They just haven’t hooked up as maybe as much as we’d like them too.”

Juju Smith-Schuster was slowed by a turf-toe injury, and like Washington, is off to a slow start by his standards. Rudolph, as he gets more comfortable with the offense, and is allowed to attack downfield, believes this team is on the verge of breaking through offensively.

“Got to get the ball to your best players, and that’s something you look forward to every week in the gameplan, so it’s just an emphasis on my end,” Rudolph said. “JuJu is a team player, and there’s going to be games like that where they might take him away or other guys have to step up and make plays and they did that Monday night. That’s the type of group we have.”

Smith-Schuster has seen plenty of double teams, which has allowed rookie Diontae Johnson the opportunity to be Rudolph’s main WR target. Johnson has 13 catches for 171 yards and two scores.

“We took the underneath stuff and forced them to come up and you see what happens later in the game. You get the over route by Diontae for a touchdown,” Rudolph said. “It’s a process. You guys can say we’re not throwing it deep all you want, but sometimes that’s football. Take what’s there. I mean, I love throwing the ball deep. I was criticized often for doing that too much in college. So it’s refreshing to be the opposite.”

The Ravens have the league’s 30th ranked pass defense, and have given up six pass plays of 40-plus yards, tied for most in the NFL.

So, those deep passes that everyone have been yearning for from Rudolph may be coming quickly this Sunday afternoon.

“We’ve made some big plays. We’d like to make more,” Fichtner said. “We’re hunting for more all the time.”

Steelers Path to Success

  1. Unleash the Rudolph: Kid has an arm. Great game last week with the short game, but Steelers need to attack downfield sooner than later.
  2. Punish Lamar Jackson: In the pocket and on the run, lay the wood to Jackson. He does not throw well while running.
  3. Force the Ravens to run the ball: Load up in the secondary and dare the Ravens to take chances in the passing game.

Prediction

Once thought left for dead, the Steelers have a big opportunity to be tied for first place at the end of business this week. A win vs the hated Ravens, plus an expected loss by the Browns to the 49ers (-3.5) on Monday Night would put all three teams at 2-3.

The defense has upped their level of play, and so has the offense, to some extent. If both units continue to improve, Steelers fans will be leaving Heinz Field with a big smile on their faces late Sunday afternoon.

The front seven, especially T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, must continue wreaking havoc in the pocket of the opposing offense. Lamar Jackson can wing it downfield with accuracy if allowed time to do so. He is not very good throwing the ball while on the run. This is a week where the defense needs to deliver some big hits when available upon the versatile quarterback the Ravens have.

Jackson has been sacked 10 times this year, and the defense will be eager to add to those totals. If they do, you can’t help but like the Steelers chances to win as a very rare underdog at home.

Look for the Steelers to utilize a little bit of the game-plan they used last week successfully, basically to set up the Ravens for some deep plays to Smith-Schuster, Washington, and Johnson.

No, it’s not Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu facing off against Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs anymore, but rest assured, these teams do not like each other. In the end, it will be an old fashioned Steelers-Ravens game that will come down to the 4th quarter.

Steelers 24 Ravens 17

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Game Information

NFL Week 5

Pittsburgh vs Baltimore Ravens

Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.

Field: Kentucky Bluegrass

Game-time: Sunday, October 5th, at 1:00 pm ET

TV: CBS (locally KDKA-TV)

  • Announcers: Ian Eagle (play-by-play) Dan Fouts (analyst) Evan Washburn (reporter)

National Radio: ESPN Radio National Broadcast

  • Announcers: Sean Kelley  (play-by-play) Barrett Jones (analyst) Dan Graziano (reporter)

Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE & WBGG 970 AM

  • Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) Craig Wolfley (sideline) Missi Matthews (sideline)

 

Internet Broadcast: Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) on Steelers.com

Weather at Kickoff: 72 and overcast. 40% chance of rain. Winds SSW 5-10 mph.

Vegas Line: Baltimore -3.5

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens History

Series History: Began in 1996

Steelers are 28-22 overall vs Baltimore

  • At Home: 17-10
  • On Road: 11-12
  • Post-Season: 3-1
  • Streak: Steelers won the last meetings.
  • Last Regular Season Meeting: Steelers Win, 23-16 (Nov. 4, 2018)
  • Last Post-Season Meeting: Ravens Win, 30-17 (Jan. 3, 2015)

____________________________________________________________

A look at the Pittsburgh Steelers

Overall Record: 1-3

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (13th Season with Steelers)

  • Overall Regular Season Record: 126-69-1 (.652)
  • Playoff Record: 8-7 (Qualified for playoffs 8 times)

2019 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster

Steelers Team Statistics Defensive Stats

Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Schedule 

Last Game: Steelers 27 Cincinnati 3

 

Scouting the Steelers

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Mason Rudolph*

The 2nd year gunslinger out of Oklahoma State takes over for the injured Ben Roethlisberger.

  • Passing Yards: 515
  • TD Passes: 6
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Sacks: 2
  • Yards Rushing: 19
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Ben Roethlisberger

Out for the season with an elbow injury.

  • Passing Yards: 351
  • TD Passes: 0
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Sacks: 2
  • Yards Rushing: 7
  • Rushing TD’s: 0

 

Running Backs

James Conner*

Not off to his best start. Conner needs to get back to power football.

  • Yards Rushing: 139
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 19
  • Yards Receiving: 153
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Jaylen Samuels

Dynamic player who can play several positions. Dangerous as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Has even completed 3 of 3 passes.

  • Yards Rushing: 48
  • Rushing TD’s: 1
  • Receptions: 10
  • Yards Receiving: 72
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Benny Snell, Jr.

Will be used to spell Conner and possibly short-yardage situations.

  • Yards Rushing: 30
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 0
  • Yards Receiving: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Roosevelt Nix (Fullback)

  • Yards Rushing: 0
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 0
  • Yards Receiving: 44
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Wide Receivers

Juju Smith-Schuster*

One of the league’s best already. Smith-Schuster is set to prove he is a true No.1 receiver for the Steelers.

  • Receptions: 17
  • Receiving Yards: 258
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Dointae Johnson*

Talented rookie whose time will come to shine. Blessed with wicked moves in open space.

  • Receptions: 13
  • Receiving Yards: 171
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

James Washington

Ready to have a breakout season and establish himself as a big-time playmaker in the NFL. So far, not going as expected.

  • Receptions: 6
  • Receiving Yards: 88
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Donte Moncrief

Was expected to be the #2 receiver, but had five drops in first two games.

  • Receptions: 3
  • Receiving Yards: 7
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Ryan Switzer

Sparingly used with Big Ben out. Will return punts and kicks.

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 29
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald*

The Vanimal, when unleashed, is a sight to see. Could be a major part of offense if utilized correctly, and if he stays healthy.

  • Receptions: 10
  • Receiving Yards: 88
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Nate Vannett

  • Receptions: 2
  • Receiving Yards: 28
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

*Denotes Starter

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

Left Tackle: Alejandro Villanueva

Left Guard: Ramon Foster

Center: Maurkice Pouncey

Right Guard: David DeCastro

Right Tackle: Matt Feller

 

DEFENSE (Base 3-4)

Defensive End: Cam Heyward

Defensive Tackle: Javon Hargrave/Dan McCullers

Defensive End: Stephon Tuitt

Left OLB: T.J. Watt

Left MLB: Mark Barron/Devin Bush

Right MLB: Vince Willams

Right OLB: Bud Dupree

Cornerback: Joe Haden

Strong Safety: Terrell Edmunds

Free Safety: Minkah Fitzpatrick/Kameron Kelly

Cornerback: Steven Nelson

Nickle: Mike Hilton/Cameron Sutton

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Chris Boswell

  • Extra Points: 7-7
  • FG: 7-7
  • 0-19:  1-1 / 20-29:  2-2 / 30-39: 1-1 / 40-49:  3-3 / 50+:  0-0
  • Long: 49

 

Punter

Jordan Berry

  • Yards per Punt: 48.1

 

Kickoff Returner

Ryan Switzer

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 21.5 / Return TD’s: 0

 

Punt Returner

Dointae Johnson

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 11.0 / Return TD’s: 0

 

PITTSBURGH INJURY REPORT (10/4/19)

  • Out: FB Roosevelt Nix (Knee), LB Anthony Chickillo (Foot)
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: WR Juju Smith-Schuster (Toe), TE Vance McDonald (Shoulder), LB Vince Williams (Hamstring)

 

____________________________________________________________

A look at the Baltimore Ravens

Overall Record: 2-2

Head Coach: John Harbaugh (9th Season with Ravens)

  • Overall Regular Season Record: 106-73  / 106-73 with Ravens
  • Playoff Record: 10-6 (Qualified for playoffs 7 times)

2019 Baltimore Ravens Roster

Baltimore Team Statistics Defensive Stats

Last Game: Cleveland 40 Baltimore 25

 

Scouting the Ravens

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson*

Dalton is playing well despite being under constant pressure.

  • Passing Yards: 1,110
  • TD Passes: 10
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Sacks: 10
  • Yards Rushing: 238
  • Rushing TD’s: 1

 

Running Backs

Mark Ingram II*

Mixon has yet to get the Bengals running game going.

  • Yards Rushing: 328
  • Rushing TD’s: 5
  • Receptions: 7
  • Yards Receiving: 62
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Gus Edwards

  • Yards Rushing: 148
  • Rushing TD’s: 0
  • Receptions: 3
  • Yards Receiving: 23
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Wide Receivers

Marquise Brown*

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown has been the top wideout for Jackson.

  • Receptions: 18
  • Receiving Yards: 304
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Willie Snead IV*

Snead hasn’t caught much, but he does have two scores this season.

  • Receptions: 8
  • Receiving Yards: 154
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

 

Seth Roberts

  • Receptions: 7
  • Receiving Yards: 83
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

 

Miles Boykin

  • Receptions: 5
  • Receiving Yards: 42
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

 

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews*

Jackson’s top target in the Ravens offense. Dangerous in the seam and near the endzone.

  • Receptions: 23
  • Receiving Yards: 266
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Nick Boyle

  • Receptions: 9
  • Receiving Yards: 107
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Hayden Hurst

  • Receptions: 8
  • Receiving Yards: 95
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

*Denotes Starter

 

DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

This isn’t your typical Ravens defense. In fact, they are pretty lousy. The Ravens are giving up 395.5 yards per game, but that mark has been extended to 500 plus the past two games. The secondary is horrible, giving up 302 yards a game through the air.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Placekicker

Justin Tucker

  • Extra Points: 13-13
  • FG: 6-6
  • 0-19:  0-0 / 20-29:  1-1 / 30-39: 1-1 / 40-49:  3-3 / 50+:  1-1
  • Long: 51

BALTIMORE INJURY REPORT (10/4/19)

  • Out: 
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: TE Mark Andrews (Foot), CB Jimmy Smith (Knee), DT Brandon Williams (Knee)

____________________________________________________________

OFFENSIVE STATS

Total yards per game 

  • Pittsburgh: 288.8
  • Baltimore: 497

Passing yards per game

  • Pittsburgh: 224.3
  • Baltimore: 291.3

Rushing yards per game

  • Pittsburgh: 64.5
  • Baltimore: 205.8

Points per game

  • Pittsburgh: 19
  • Baltimore: 33.8

 

DEFENSIVE STATS

Total Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 375.3
  • Baltimore: 395.5

Passing Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 252.5
  • Baltimore: 302

Rushing Yards per game allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 122.8
  • Baltimore: 93.5

Points Allowed

  • Pittsburgh: 22
  • Baltimore: 25

Extra Defensive Stats

Pittsburgh

  • Sacks: 14
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Fumbles: 4

Baltimore

  • Sacks: 8
  • Interceptions: 3
  • Fumbles: 2

Author Profile

Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

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As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.

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