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Steeler Hitman

2020 Week #8 GDT Steelers at Ravens

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Well it is that time of year again fans! It's Ravens Week Steelers Nation! One of the NFL's most physical and fiercest rivalries! What time is it!

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th?id=OIP.VzCh1ZhuE7CnZRd9Z4MTAwAAAA&pid Boy!!! Steelers and Ravens! doesn't get much better than that!

 

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One of these bullies are going to get the beatdown!

 

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Time & Date: Changed Sunday, November 1, 2020 @ 1 pm (Reminder: Daylight Savings Time Fall Back) Let's hope our Steelers don't fall back!

Series History: Steelers lead the all time series 28-24-0. Including 3-1 in the play-offs. Ravens won last two games in 2019: A disappointing 26-23 OT loss in Pittsburgh and a humiliating loss to the Ravens JV squad the final week 28-10.  Since 2016 the Steelers and Ravens are deadlocked at 4 - 4. 

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Two legends of battles gone past. The great Hines Ward and the great Ray Lewis! This is AFC North Football! Not for the faint at heart. Moms hold onto your kids!

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TJ Watt and company will have to have a monster performance to slow down the speedy, dangerous and high powered Ravens offense led by QB Lamar Jackson.

Key Ravens Offensive players: QB Lamar Jackson, RB Mark Ingram, WR AJ Brown, TE's Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle

Defensive Keys to Stopping the Ravens:

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1. Stop the Ravens ground attack.  Despite playing Cleveland and Tennessee who boast the league's leading rushing offense and the leagues leading rusher, the test stiffens with the league's most dynamic duo threat QB in Lamar Jackson. This is one of the deadliest combinations of thunder and lightning in a rushing attack. Ingram like Henry can beat up and wear down a defense. But Jackson can simply electrify the Ravens offense by running wild and faster than anyone on the field. The loss of Devon Bush at ILB hurts with potentially placing a fast spy on Jackson, but the Steelers will be hard pressed to stop Jackson from getting free. They did a decent job in the first game in Pittsburgh last year, but Jackson is even better and the Steelers defense will need to be up to the challenge. The Ravens have as solid an OL as any other team the Steelers have faced with LT Ronnie Stanley, RT Orlando Brown Jr., C Matt Skura, OG's Bradley Bozeman and Tyre Phillip. They are a large, powerful and versatile group who can drive block you ten yards. 

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A. The importance of maintaining your lane discipline. The Steelers DL and LB have penetrated opposing OL's very well this year.  They were able to stop Henry, Hunt and others from getting started.  I feel confident with the Steelers DL led by Tuitt, Cam and Tyson to match strength with strength. However, the concern comes with the cutback and shiftier guys. QB Jackson is a part of the Ravens ground attack. He is probably the shiftiest in the entire NFL.  The Eagles Miles Sanders had a long run and the Broncos Melvin Gordon had success with a few runs and gained 70 yards on about 20 carries. This was not world beating, but helped the Bronco's offense tremendously in the first half and opened up some passing lanes in the second half.The Steelers have done well with the bruising down-hill RB's, but some of the more elusive ones have created a few opportunities. Discipline is key with a super-quick Lamar Jackson and even the possibility of a jet-sweep or reverse to WR Brown. 

B. While a spy is the conventional and popular way to attempt to contain Lamar Jackson's running, I am not so sure. I think up the middle pressure and speed from the edge collapsing from outside and in is the only way. Sounds good. Sounds easy, but very hard to do. On RPO's you have to try to use the sideline as a defender. Jackson is simply too fast. Stopping him is the key, but the problem is that Ingram, Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins can all tote the rock and kill you as well. Dobbins is shiftier while Ingram and Edwards are downhill slashers that can cut up an opposing defense.  

The Ravens offense is high scoring/high production. They are very similar to the Titans offense in that way of pick your poison (stop the run or try to stop the pass.  The Ravens have not put up as gaudy passing numbers as last year, they still have the tools to do so. Like the Steelers opted to stop Henry last week, they have to stop Jackson if they have any shot of winning. He has been extremely hard to contain on the ground, and you just have to hope that you can slow him and keep him in the pocket more. If he runs, he's got to pay. Hit him! Hit him hard, but clean!  Take away the threat of him running. This may be were we see a little more of the more athletic Ulysses Grant at MLB in the Nickel and Dime. You have a crazy football mythological offensive rushing serpent that is four headed with QB Jackson and RB's Ingram, Edwards and Dobbins. Do you avoid the lightning quick strikes of Jackson or the pounding of Ingram and Edwards? If they are striking on all cylinders then Dobbins is going to trip you up with a contrasting style than the bruisers. Tough sledding either way, but I would tend to want to stop the run first as the Steelers did the Titans. If any or all of these guys get going it is going to be a long afternoon at M&T Stadium.

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2. Stop the Ravens passing attack.  The Steelers defense has given up a ton of big plays both rushing and even more so passing.  TE's Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle have combined for 29 receptions and 7 TD's.  The Steelers have struggled covering TE's.  If that isn't enough, they have almost sure handed Willie Snead and lightning quick Marquise Brown to contend with on the outside.  Not to mention that if you do a good job covering downfield, Lamar can take off and beat you with his legs. I would prefer to let Lamar's arm and TE's Andrews and Boyle to beat me. 

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Steelers defense is much better when Minkah is playing his A game. His intelligence, speed and instincts will be needed.  Tackling and wrapping instead of knocking are key for the Steelers defense!

A. Limit the big play.  Have to play more disciplined defense. Cannot give this group second and third chances. I am sure that the Ravens will try to take a few deep shots to Brown. Minkah has to play one of his better games at FS. Teams have had success going deep. That is something that didn't happen with much frequency after Minkah was traded to the Steelers last year. The communication, timing, angles have all contributed to long pass completions or the pass, catch run killer as AJ Brown did in Tennessee. Don't let Brown get behind you. Will Lamar pick apart the Zone. I am thinking that Butler plays more zone because of Lamar's running ability. 

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B. Tackling has to be solid. For the most part the Steelers have tackled fairly consistently. There have been a few hiccups on some plays. I've also seen several players try to lay the slobber knock shoulder shot without wrapping up. While it looks good and did the job against Cleveland, I can point to several other plays that it didn't. You have to wrap these guys up (Not whap them up) or they are going to break away and potentially bust a long play at TE, WR, or RB catching the ball. 

C. Blanket Andrews and Boyle.  Herein lies a problem. If you cover them too well without getting a great rush, Jackson will take off. If you give these guys a crack in the window, Jackson has delivered the ball to them and they are both dangerous. They can kill a zone and they can make big plays. Stopping this duo is putting a serious cramp in the Ravens passing attack. Be disciplined and do your job!

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This all sounds good and all, but the reality of stopping it is something else. This would not be a bad week to force a few turnovers by the Steelers defense. 

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Marlon Humphrey stripping JuJu Smith-Schuster in OT in Pittsburgh in 2019

Key Ravens defenders: CB's Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith, OLB Matthew Judon, ILB Patrick Queen, DE Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, NG Brandon Williams

Keys points for the Steelers offense to win against the Ravens defense.

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1. Big Ben must make sharp decisions. Through five of six games Ben's decision making and patience have been outstanding. He and the offense got away from that starting the final series of the first half against Tennessee. After a mental mistake (false start) five yard penalty on TE Eric Ebron, rather than make a throw or two towards the sidelines, they went for the gusto with a deep pass that was not remotely close from the time the ball left Ben's hands. The result was one of three INT's. The others came off a tipped pass and and a fortuitous bounce after a forced pass in the endzone. The result was three turnovers and three missed opportunities to score not being patient.  Ben has shown to be a better QB and student of the game than that. I expect a better game from the neck up from Ben. This Ravens defense will force takeaways so you have to be smart and patient. The Steelers offense was for 29 minutes and 46 seconds. They need to be for 60 minutes or more.

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2. Hold onto the football. Win the turnover battle even if it is 0 - 0!   Week in and week out the Steelers offense has put the ball on the ground rushing or after receptions. They have been fortunate in most cases recovering but that has been the difference in the Steelers being 6-0 rather than perhaps 4-2. It is a game of inches, but it is also a game of discipline. Ball security has got to be better and more consistent from the Steelers skill people. TE Ebron, RB's Connor and Snell, WR's Johnson and Claypool have all put the churches money on the ground or kicked it out of bounds!  Hold onto to the ball!

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3.  The offensive line will face another very stiff test with Campbell, Williams, Wolfe and company.  The Ravens have a very formidable front three. Campbell has had some big games against the Steelers and I think Derek Wolfe is one of the most underrated complete 3-4 DE's in the NFL.  Chuks, will be tested with Campbell's explosiveness and power.  Williams can absolutely shut down inside rushing attacks. Pouncey has typically struggled somewhat against the bigger NG's. Hopefully FB Derek Watt will be healthy enough to play as well. His lead blocking will be needed with this stout and effective group up front. 

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4.  Big Ben has done a great job spreading the ball around in games to TE's and WR's. Ju Ju, Dionte, Chase, James, Ray Ray, Eric and Vance have all gotten their hands on the football. I think the Steelers could exploit the TE matchups better. While Ebron seems to be getting the bulk of the TE passes, Vance is more than capable of holding his own. The Steelers have picked different receivers to highlight: Week one was Ju Ju, Chase got hot against the Eagles, James Washington has gotten open and a fair number of throws as well. With a solid defensive backfield like the Ravens, spreading the ball around would be smart. As solid a CB and playmaker that Marcus Peters is, he is also susceptible to getting beat and then getting down on himself. I would get Chase Claypool involved deep against him. This could give the Steelers offense the edge it needs to get over the top. That is a big could be as it could also backfire. Marcus Peters has gotten his hands on Big Ben passes in the past. 

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These are my top two favorite NFL coaches (the others in my top five McCarthy, Belichick, McDermott). They have both won the SB and are always competitive.  They know each other and always have something in store for each other. I thought that Coach Tomlin did a masterful job last year in game planning against a much better Ravens team and having to play without Big Ben. He took the Ravens to overtime and was a big play from Marlon Humphrey from upsetting the Ravens. In Typical John Harbaugh fashion, he made some adjustments in the meaningless game and the Ravens JV squad humbled our proud team. In the words of Coach Tomlin the Steelers will need a very "Varsity like effort" to compete and win. For the Steelers Randy Fichtner has to call a complete game. For two weeks he rebounded from slow starts and having to make adjustments to starting fast and not readjusting after the opponent slows what you did successfully early. Keith Butler is really challenged as if you go man, Lamar can take off and you may not catch him. If you go zone he can pick you apart dumping to Ingram and Edwards or the two headed TE monster. Similar strategy as against the Titans, I make Lamar beat me with his arm and not his legs or the legs of Ingram, Edwards and Dobbins.

On offense possess the ball, hold onto the ball and play solid balanced football. The Steelers have had more self-inflected injuries than getting stopped by their opponents. Point the barrel in a safe direction down range (so you don't shoot yourselves in the foot) and keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot at the Ravens defense Steelers offense. This team is pretty dang good when they play complimentary football. The problem is that despite having a great record, they don't always play their most complete and best football consistently.  Harsh truth, but truth!

On defense stop Lamar is priority #1. #2 is stop the three headed rushing attack of Ingram, Edwards, and Dobbins. #3 is to stop the two headed TE monster in Andrews and Boyle. #4 eliminate the big play. Don't need Marquise catching a 60 yard bomb or Dobbins ripping off a long TD run. 

The coverage teams have been pretty solid and I hate to admit it that our favorite coordinator to bash has coached some solid special teams so hats off to Danny Smith. The Ravens have two of the best kickers in the business (Koch and Tucker) and Harbaugh is a ST ace at coaching. Ray Ray McCloud looks like he can break one every time he gets his hands on the ball. Although for his speed, the clutch got stuck in fourth on that long second quarter return.😂 Hopefully he can get it to the next gear. 😅 Boz has been Killer B Boz since week one's missed EP with a new holder. He has Jordan Berry back and hopefully Berry's time off has helped his hang time and distance on punts. I thought the Steelers should have tried former Raiders punter Marquette King who has a booming leg. But welcome back Berry. 

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Hey coach, "This may be one of those years we play three times. With the winner going to the big dance!" "No doubt!"

Prediction: The more you win, the harder it is to keep winning. The Steelers almost lost to the Titans, not because they were out-played or out-coached, but they got some good bounces early that were not their after Ben's last second Hail Mary INT at the half. Then after allowing the Titans to come back from turnovers, they almost got the game sent into OT in which anything could have happened. Was that lucky or unlucky or some of both? Honestly, I see the Steelers and Ravens splitting with each team winning at home. There are six legitimate SB contenders in the AFC: World Champion Chiefs, Ravens, Titans, Colts, Bills, and Steelers. I am most glad that unlike 2004 (Ben's rookie season) when the Steelers went 15-1 and faded in the play-offs and ended up 16-2 that the 2020 version has not played their best football yet.  We have seen glimpses against Cleveland, second half against the Texans and first half against the Titans. It is hard to win every week in the NFL. The competition is too good and the pressure mounts.  The Ravens were by far the best team in the NFL last year, but had an off week in the play-offs against a hot football team. Like the 2005 Steelers, I think the Ravens learned from this as well. The Ravens are coming off a bye with a great coach and an extra week to prepare.

My brain is telling me what could and should potentially happen with this game in Baltimore as well. BUT I am a bit of a football superstitious guy. I won't say what it or they is/are but, I am keeping all of the routine/(s) the same.

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Steelers upset the Ravens in Baltimore 30 - 27. After coming from behind and evening up the game late at 27-27, Big Ben leads the Steelers offense on a final drive in the final two minutes on offense and Boz kicks a 43 yard FG as time runs out and avoids OT and a loss in B-More. How sweet and fortuitous! 🤪 

Edited by Steeler Hitman
Completed weekly game thread
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Only shot we have at winning this game Is shutting down Lamar. Their only real receiving threats are Andrews and Brown.

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we need to own TOP like we did against tenn

I think they will receive the ball if they win the coin toss to try to get the early lead on B-more.

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man, a win this sunday would huge in our race for the number 1 seed

we'd be 7-0 with a 2 gm lead on the Ravens with games against the bengals 2x, Cowboys, skins and Jags coming up. The Ravens 2x, Bills and Colts are our only tough on paper games remaining. Browns game in week 17 should not matter if we take care of business

Edited by August4th

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I thought they'd lose to the Titans. So I guess I'll go all in and say they lose to Baltimore in Baltimore with them coming off their bye. The latter part of that statement is what concerns me most. The schedule makers really screwed the team with that little move.

It's going to be a dogfight for the division all year.

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Unpopular take coming!

I hope we play the plainest of plain defenses in the plainest of plainly plain pre-season plain style of plain play...........plain. 

This game doesn't mean a ton to me, other than putting things on tape for the 2nd, and potentially 3rd, time we will play the Ravens this season. I view the second (and ultimately, 3rd) as far more important to win than this game this weekend -- especially after beating the Titans because even with a loss next week, we have the drivers seat to the North -- and based on schedule possible the 1 seed.  

Chiefs are on the road for the Raiders, Bucs, and Saints and end the season against a fun Chargers team. 

Ravens get us and the Titans. 

We get the Ravens and the Bills.

Gimme our schedule with a leg up on the Ravens despite a loss this week with a far more important game being the second time we face them at home on Sunday night (at least in my eyes).

Id rather put nothing on tape of how we ultimately plan on playing Jackson. Play them straight up, if our guys can line up and beat their guys head up -- fantastic. If not, it probably charges us through the games in between week 8 and week 12 and gives us an edge of game tape strategies.  

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In Baltimore off Baltimore's bye week?

As critical as Ive been of Tomlin this year, if we win, Ill really start to buy into him for CotY.   Not saying a loss disqualify him, but this would be one of his most impressive regular season wins EVER.

However, I think we get our first L.

33-24

 

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Best of luck gents! We all know how great this rivalry is and understand that these teams will always be the AFC North's best, despite how our little brothers in Cleveland feel about that each and every offseason 😝

Nothing but respect...hopefully no injuries Sunday!

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33 minutes ago, Ray Reed said:

Best of luck gents! We all know how great this rivalry is and understand that these teams will always be the AFC North's best, despite how our little brothers in Cleveland feel about that each and every offseason 😝

Nothing but respect...hopefully no injuries Sunday!

Thank you likewise. Mad respect to the team. We have had a tough stretch of playing the lil brother trying to beat the big brother, our former division rival cousins in the Titans and now our equally as imposing and evil twin in the Ravens. 🤪  

Any insight or thoughts from a Ravens perspective on how you would/should attack the Steelers on offense and defense? I am a Steelers fan in Ravens Country (Laurel, MD) and I have seen a lot of Ravens games over the years as well. I always like to get the perspective from the other side.

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5 minutes ago, Steeler Hitman said:

Thank you likewise. Mad respect to the team. We have had a tough stretch of playing the lil brother trying to beat the big brother, our former division rival cousins in the Titans and now our equally as imposing and evil twin in the Ravens. 🤪  

Any insight or thoughts from a Ravens perspective on how you would/should attack the Steelers on offense and defense? I am a Steelers fan in Ravens Country (Laurel, MD) and I have seen a lot of Ravens games over the years as well. I always like to get the perspective from the other side.

So in all honesty I don't expect our running game to do much of anything Sunday so I'm really not too sure how we can attack you at all. Our interior o-line has been bullied all year in the run game so I don't expect really much of anything on the ground save a few scrambles by Lamar if he decides to break the pocket.  I think in order to move the ball we're going to have to throw 35+ times and outside of the Cleveland game week 1 our passing game has looked really mediocre/downright bad at times. I think the only way we can really win Sunday is with an incredible defensive performance because I don't see our offense scoring many points outside of short field opportunities.

Defensively we're going to have to make it a knock-around, drag-out, old fashioned 23-20 type game with a few timely turnovers like the Ravens/Steelers games of old if we want to win IMO. If you guys spread us out with 4-5 wide you will probably move the ball a bit - our top 3 corners are great but we've lost our #3/4/5 corners due to injury already so I'm not sure how many receivers we can feasibly cover for 2+ seconds without using safeties/LBs/etc...which will obviously cause some mismatches. We're going to have to get instant pressure most of this game to neutralize your offense and that's what Yannick was brought in to help do...we'll see how that plan works out Sunday.

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50 minutes ago, August4th said:

people on twitter are speculating if he's been traded.

I can’t see him being moved. He alone equals so much depth and versatility on the backend. It would have to be for something significant. 

I don’t believe the Gilmore rumor, but that’s the kind of significance I’m taking about. Gilmore outside, bumps Nelson inside, moves Hilton into that hybrid S/CB role more, potentially aligns with Edmunds moving to backer in more sets and Hilton at SS. I don’t think that’s it, but Sutton does strike me as a guy Bill would love. 

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On 10/26/2020 at 4:21 PM, wwhickok said:

Only shot we have at winning this game Is shutting down Lamar. Their only real receiving threats are Andrews and Brown.

but we never did this last year.  How do you do this? How about man coverage and then a spy? Zones might work but then Lamar should find receivers or break the would be tackles. He's difficult to defend, but what teams have done so and how did they do it?

Last year they killed us with reserves yet we needed to win to get into the playoffs. This better be a statement game of all things as a result.  NO excuses now, ben is here and playing good usually. If he throws 3 Int's, then call it a loss

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Play a lot zone coverage and keep containment something we did not do last season

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