Steelers-Ravens: Friday Report

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

All photos from GoogleImages 

Current injuries: Steelers (from Pro-Football-Reference.com)

Player Status Injury Comment
Sean Spence Physically Unable to Perform knee is on the physically-unable-to-perform list
Maurkice Pouncey Injured Reserve knee is on injured reserve
Justin Cheadle Injured Reserve hamstring is on injured reserve
Plaxico Burress Injured Reserve shoulder is on injured reserve
Larry Foote Injured Reserve biceps is on injured reserve
LaRod Stephens-Howling Injured Reserve knee is on injured reserve
Nik Embernate Injured Reserve knee is on injured reserve
Matt Spaeth Injured Reserve foot is on injured reserve/designated to return
Levi Brown Injured Reserve triceps is on injured reserve
David Johnson Out wrist is on injured reserve
Markus Wheaton Out finger will miss Sunday’s game against Baltimore
Richard Gordon Questionable toe is questionable for Sunday’s game against Baltimore
Marcus Gilbert Questionable quadricep is questionable for Sunday’s game against Baltimore
Jarvis Jones Questionable concussion is questionable for Sunday’s game against Baltimore
Brett Keisel Probable abdomen is probable for Sunday’s game against Baltimore
LaMarr Woodley Probable knee is probable for Sunday’s game against Baltimore

 

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For the Steelers Gordon, Jarvis Jones and Marcus Wheaton are OUT. They might miss Jones the most but that doesn’t mean much since Gordon was just added this week and Wheaton hasn’t played much. If Gilbert can’t go it may mean moving Kelvin Beachum to RT and inserting Mike Adams at LT which is BAD, BAD, BAD for the Steelers. Or they could choose to use Guy Whimper at LT which might not be any better. Kiesel with an abdomen injury might make him ineffective which the team cannot sufficiently make up for on the defensive line.

Current injuries: Ravens (from Pro-Football-Reference.com)

Player Status Injury Comment
Jameel McClain Physically Unable to Perform back is on the physically-unable-to-perform list
D.J. Bryant Injured Reserve knee is on injured reserve
Aaron Mellette Injured Reserve knee is on injured reserve
Adrian Hamilton Injured Reserve wrist is on injured reserve
Dennis Pitta Injured Reserve hip is on injured reserve/designated for return
Kapron Lewis-Moore Out knee is on the non-football injury list
Terrence Cody Questionable knee is questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
Ryan Jensen Questionable foot is questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
Lardarius Webb Questionable thigh is questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
Haloti Ngata Questionable elbow is questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
Albert McClellan Questionable shoulder is questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
Josh Bynes Questionable thigh/finger is questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
Chris L. Canty Probable thigh is probable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
Marcus R. Spears Probable knee is probable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh
Brandon Stokley Probable thigh is probable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh


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The big name in the Ravens’ list is Haloti Ngata. If he doesn’t play the Steelers’ less-than-average offensive line really catches a break. Pittsburgh’s C Fernando Velasco has been fairly effective but not even Maurkice Pouncey can consistently neutralize Ngata. It would automatically mean the Steelers’ running game will be more effective, for what that may be worth. Remember, it was Ngata who hit Roethlisberger in the head in the pocket breaking Ben’s nose in the 2010 game in Baltimore (but was not penalized OR fined).

Steelers’ keys:

  • Establish a running game with at least 75-80 yards.
  • Dealeffectively with LBs Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. The Steelers have never really found anyone that can consistently block Suggs.

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  • Throw to Heath Miller early and often to take advantage of the Ravens’ safeties. No team has every taken Miller out of a game defensively.
  • In light of the fact that the Steelers threw so many outside screens against the Jets they need to be mindful of Suggs and Dumervil stepping in from of one of those for an easy INT.
  • Get a couple of turnovers on defense or special teams.
  • Throw deep early to help lossen-up the Ravens’ DBs who are a little dodgey right now.
  • Shut down the Ravens’ running game and minimizing throws to Ray Rice. Jason Worilds in particular must step up his game to do this.

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  • Protect Roethlisberger. For the Steelers have any chance to make the playoffs Ben needs to be healthy all season. Keeping him clean against the Ravens has been a challenge.

Ravens’ keys:

  • Take advantage of the Steelers’ LBs in the passing game. They’re not the most mobile group around.
  • Minimize turnovers as the Ravens have rarely lost against the Steelers when they didn’t produce turnovers.

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  • Neutralize Troy Polamalu. Although he’s not playing a the level of say 3 years ago Polamalu is back as a force to be reckoned with and he’s done damage to the Ravens before in ciritcal situations.

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  • Out-coach Mike Tomlin. Not difficult in my opinion, particularly in-game.
  • Maintain the field position advantage. The Steelers’ punter, Zoltan Mesko, has not been effective at all since coming over from the Patriots.

 

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