The Steeler nation lost a great fan this week with the passing of Fury’s grandmother…I am sure Grandma Fury is sitting at the Steelers table with The Chief, Mike Webster, Ray Mansfield and Bobby Layne in Valhalla telling stories… I am sure their preparing to watch the Steelers kick the **** out of the Ravens from the best seat in the house.
Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff did a very good job against the Bengal’s last week. The Steelers implemented a bend but not break style of defense…It made a lot of sense; this style of defense eliminates the quick strike scoring… it forces the Bengal’s to make plays inside of the Red zone. The Steelers offense was balanced and golden…The Bengal’s defense sucks…I don’t have warm fuzzy feelings about the offense to be honest…The Steelers offensive line must play a great game as a unit against the Ravens.
I really hate the Ravens…I generally only hate quality team’s and the Ravens are still a quality team. Let’s look back to the 2006 season…The Ravens defense held the Steelers rushing game to a total of 84 yards in 2 games, sacked Steeler quarterbacks 14 times forced six turnovers and the cherry on top…The Steelers converted 3 of 26 3rd downs (11.5%)…The 2007 Ravens defense is ranked second in the NFL for a reason…Great scheme and very good players…The Steelers offense must make plays.
Mike Tomlin is saying all the right things this week. I am not big on quotes and the rah rah aspect of the game…This “coach speak” is very telling to me.
They came to play,” said Tomlin about the Ravens’ performance in those games. “They applied pressure to the quarterback. They didn’t allow us to run the football effectively. They played their game and I am sure they are going to be intent on playing their game this year. We have to play ours.”
“As far as I can see, they have changed very little,” said Tomlin. “They have Jarret Johnson in that position now and he is showing quite a bit of versatility. They are still running the same or similar packages that they have run in the past.”
“I didn’t look at last year’s tapes with the mentality of looking for mismatches or having an understanding of what our guys were being asked to do,” said Tomlin. “I was just looking for their playing personality when they play the Pittsburgh Steelers, what they were intent on getting done.”
If you have young children I would not recommend letting them watch this game…I expect a blood bath, a body bag game…I expect the Steelers to come out flying. Tomlin will not allow this team to be “violated” again.
Did you know?
-The Steelers are unbeaten at Heinz Field this season and have not lost a Monday night game at home in 16 seasons
-The Steelers have won 5 out of the last 6 meetings against the Ravens at Heinz Field (playoffs included)
- The Steelers throw back uniforms are hideous
*Ravens with the Ball*
Steve Mcnair is a Steeler killer…He needs to be placed firmly on his back every time he drops back to pass. The Ravens offensive line should be back to full strength this week. Jonathan Ogden is not the dominant force he once was…He is a quality player…I am not a fan of any other starter on the Ravens offensive line. The Ravens skill positions on offense are decent…I expect Todd Heap to play…Heap is a big boy who tries to block in the run game…He is a major matchup problem for any Steeler defender in the passing game…I expect Anthony “Controlled Fury” Smith to look for a big shot on Heap. Quinn Sypniewski has become a glorified tackle masquerading as a TE…The Ravens Wr’s are under sized and they have failed to make explosive plays for the Ravens offense…Derrick Mason is still Mcnair’s favorite target after all these years…He has caught 56 passes for a 9.5 yard average and 2 Td’s… The 2 other Wr’s Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams have combined for 37 catches 438 yards and zero Td’s. The Ravens would love to pound there new over rated weapon Willis Mcgahee…Mcgahee is as soft as warm butter…He is Richard Huntley II…I still believe the Bills robbed the Ravens.
-Ogden and Kiesel in the run game should be interesting…I have no clue what Ogden has left…No one does. Ogden was never an overpowering player in the run game…He would win inside hand position and wall his body between the back and the defender…Kiesel has been a major disappointment this season…I would love to see Kiesel register some sacks…He has to play the run better…The Bengal’s had success running right at Kiesel…The Ravens will attempt to pound the run right at Kiesel as well…James Harrison can not be depended on to play at a dominant level every week…Kiesel must show up to play this week.
-Ogden and James Harrison in pass Pro…Everyone expects Ogden to dominate Harrison…I don’t. Harrison is strong enough and quick enough to give Ogden fits off the edge. Harrison finally showed some variety rushing the passer…Harrison is strong enough to dip his shoulder and rip inside of a left tackle if he sets up his rush…Harrison’s speed rush isn’t pretty…But its effective…Harrison is relentless chasing the ball…Call me a fan. Harrison doesn’t have to close the deal…He must collapse the pocket off the edge.
-Jason Brown in the run game…Brown played 2 great games against the Steelers last year. Brown is a short power house who can move a nose guard with a down block. Brown has been far and away the best Ravens offensive linemen in 07. This matchup is simple…If Brown gets movement on Hampton with down blocks in the run game the Steelers are in trouble. Hampton must beat the blocks before he can pursue the ball…If Hampton comes to play he will take Jason Brown to the woodshed…When Casey Hampton comes to play he is unblockable.
-Kiesel and Brown in pass pro…Brown dominated Kiesel last year in pass pro…Kiesel played both games like an uninspired sissy…Kiesel is the bigger faster more mobile man…There is zero reason for Kiesel to be playing patty cake with Brown….Kiesel stands and titty fights with offensive linemen…He needs to beat blocks…Kiesel needs to show up and close the deal for the Steelers this week.
- Mike Flynn and Casey Hampton…Hampton should dominate this matchup…Flynn did a nice job last year against the Steelers…The Steelers must dominate this matchup. I expect Hampton to have a nice game and force double teams all day long…Hopefully “The Snacks” expectations are the same.
-Chris Chester in the run game…This matchup I love for the Steelers. Chester doesn’t have the cement in his pants to do anything with Hampton…Chester is a blown up 245 pound TE…He will spend a majority of the night picking painted green dirt out of his teeth…Chester hasn’t been forced to deal with a player like Hampton this season at guard…I expect the Ravens to attempt to run the ball right…And fail miserably.
-Chris Chester and Aaron Smith…I believe the Steelers demolition man plays this week…Getting your *** kicked twice the season before inspires hard nosed tough players…Aaron Smith is those things…He is also a stud. Smith will play his game of getting his hands inside of Chester and placing him in Mcnair’s lap. If Smith can’t go Nick Eason is a solid backup…Eason isn’t nearly as physical as Smith but he will play balls out…Eason played every down hard last week…His play was impressive to me.
-Adam Terry and Aaron Smith in the run game…I really hope Smith is healthy enough to play…I hate Adam Terry…I always have…Why…I don’t know…His play reminds me of a poor man’s James Williams(former Chicago Bear from Pittsburgh). Terry is a tall soft pansy who just does enough to get the job done…I believe a semi healthy Aaron Smith kicks his *** up and down the field…If Eason is forced to play I expect a ton of stalemates.
-Adam Terry and Clark Haggans/Lamar Woodley in pass pro…Terry can be beat to the edge…I expect Woodley to see increased playing time this week… Terry is a big tall dork who throws his long arms out there and catches the pass rusher…The Steelers edge rushers must force Terry to move his feet…Terry seems far more comfortable on the left side than the right. I expect the Steelers to be able to pressure Mcnair off the edge from the right side of the offensive formation all game long. I won’t be surprised if Terry is beat over the top (up his chest) by Haggans or Woodley.
*Skill Position matchups*
The Steelers must force the Ravens Wide Receivers to make plays…That means no 12 yard cushions. I would matchup Deshea Townsend on Mason and Ike Taylor on Clayton. The Ravens offense is really struggling…IC did a great job breaking down the Ravens inept offense. The Ravens offensive line is nothing special…The Steelers front seven must dominate the line of scrimmage. The Steelers Outside linebackers must control the Ravens Tight Ends in the run game…Funnel everything back inside where the Calvary can inflict some damage. James Farrior and Larry Foote must beat blocks and form tackle. Troy Polamula is just missing some huge plays…I expect Troy to break out in a big way very soon…I would not be surprised if this was the week…Troy played awful last year against the Ravens…Demetrius Williams embarrassed Troy last year…I have a feeling Troy has pay back on his mind. Anthony “Controlled Fury” Smith needs to play his game…He needs to lay the wood…He hits like a sledgehammer with the conscience of a serial killer…He is with out a doubt my favorite Steeler defender. I expect the Ravens to try to exploit the Steelers safeties with Todd Heap…Good luck with that…Heap may leave Pittsburgh in an ambulance if Mcnair throws the ball a little bit too high or outside. Willis Mcgahee is a bum…A team killer…I have zero fear of Mcgahee…He will manage to hump the pooch by the end of the night…Le’ron McClain is the second coming of Dan Krieder…He is a devastating lead blocker at 260 pounds…My biggest fear is simple…The Ravens manage to block Hampton…McClain has a free shot at a Steelers inside linebacker leaving Mcgahee with one tackle (The safety) to beat to get to the end zone.
*The Steelers with the Ball.
The Ravens will ‘Heat the Steelers up”…The Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan comes off the charter flight blitzing…The Steelers offense must be prepared for the multiple looks the Ravens defense will show. I expect Chris McAllister to miss the game this week…He will be a huge loss for the Ravens defense. Trevor Pryce will play in a limited role this week out of the nickel and dime packages…Kendoll Simmons and Willie Colon must play and play well against Pryce this week…The Ravens had a ton of success sliding Pryce inside over Simmons last year. Ravens defensive stars Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott are having quiet seasons…From a Steelers perspective lets hope that continues. Ray Lewis is way over rated…He is still a football playing SOB who can make plays at critical times. Ed Reed is as good as it gets in coverage…He wants no parts of the run game. Speaking of the run game…The Steelers offensive line must dominate the play side of the formation…In other words they must reestablish the line of scrimmage by driving their man off the ball…They must get a hat on a hat. The Ravens defense is very good in 07…It can not compare to the Ravens defense of 2006.
-Marvel Smith and Terrell Suggs…This matchup should be interesting, Marvel Smith should dominate the run game( I don’t believe he does)…Ben has to help the Oline by varying his snap count…Justin Smith was all over the snap count last week…He was off the ball before the offensive line were out of their stances at times. Suggs likes to run his mouth…Smith can shut him up by beating him down in the run game. Marvel Smith must play with an edge this week in the run game. I believe Suggs has a big advantage in Pass Pro…Smith just humps the pooch at times in Pass Pro…He seems to lose interest…When he loses interest Ben could lose his life.
-Haloti Ngata and Alan Faneca…Another key matchup…Ngata is the most mobile big man I have ever seen on film…Faneca needs to bring a lunch this week…He must be ready to put in a full day of work. The run game should be even…Faneca needs to knock Ngata off his pins early and often…Ngata can have his will broken…He will tire and play half assed…The reason the Ravens defense is rated number one against the run is simple…No team has figured a way to block Ngata for an entire game. In Pass Pro Ngata has 1 rush move…Straight bull rush…If Faneca stands straight up and attempts to overpower Ngata he will be embarrassed just like he was last year.
-Sean Mahan must keep his head on a swivel… In the run game Mahan has to come off the ball… Mahan must help the play side guard with the double team like there is no tomorrow…The Steelers must get that initial movement at the line of scrimmage…I don’t care if Mahan fails to scoop the linebacker…Dominating the line of scrimmage is key to the Steelers success. In Pass pro the Ravens will fill all the gaps and force Ben to throw the ball…Mahan must protect his interior gap and allow Ben to make plays.
-Kendoll Simmons and Kelly Gregg…Battle of the midgets. Simmons is the bigger stronger man…He should be able to hold his own against Gregg…I doubt he does…Simmons is just a waste of a human being…And that’s all I have to say about that.
-Willie Colon and Dwan Edwards….Edwards is going to kick Colon’s *** in the run game…Edwards has played very well in the place of Trevor Pryce. Edwards and Colon are identical in size and stature…Edwards plays with nastiness and edge that Colon doesn’t possess in his bag of tricks…Colon has no understanding of leverage or when his feet stop the block stops.
-Willie Colon and Trevor Pryce in pass pro…I expect Colon to do very well in this aspect of the game…Hardnosed hit the nail on the head regarding Colon earlier in the year…Colon plays a lot like a poor man’s Derrick Deese…Colon can slide his feet and take a beating (I guess he is used to taking the beating from his play in the run game)…Colon needs to keep his weight on his heels and his head back…Colon can not over extend against a savvy pro like Pryce.
*Skill position matchups*
I don’t believe Samuel L. McAllister plays this week…That leaves Ed Reed as the only Ravens defensive back that can run…Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes should own either Corey Ivey or Samari Rolle in the passing game. The Steelers must spread out the Ravens and attack them vertically at times…The Steelers Receivers can beat the Ravens corners on 5 step drops vertically…Arians must look to attack early and often. Ben must make accurate throws…Ben must make smart decisions with the ball. Ben has the chance to make his statement as the 3rd best quarterback in the NFL on national TV…Ben has a lot of demons to “exercise” after last season…This is his first step. Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth must beat the **** out of Jarret Johnson and Bart Scott in the run game…I like the idea of taking a 15 yard penalty against that dirty piece of **** Bart Scott…Miller needs to lock on and drive his *** off the field. Spaeth could be a major factor this week if the Ravens lock a backer on him in coverage…I don’t believe there is a backer on the Ravens roster that can cover the Steelers Tight Ends. Willie Parker needs to attack the hole if he sees a crack…That crack can turn into a major hole quickly…Parker must read the blitz and block his balls off…Don’t be surprised to see the Steelers run a little wheel route to Parker out of the back field early in the game…Force the Ravens to account for him on every down. Whoever the Steelers fullback is he better be ready for a bloody nose…When he is in the game he is going to be in seek and destroy mode…I hope its Krieder and I hope he destroys Ray Ray again.
The Ravens are better in every aspect of special teams.