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2020 Week #12 GDT Steelers vs. Ravens


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Happy Thanksgiving Steelers Nation!

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After you enjoy some well deserved safe time with your family and loved ones, tune in at 8:00 pm (eat another slice of pie or a second or third plate) and watch the Steelers and Ravens battle it out on the football field. You'll be sick of Thanksgiving leftovers by Sunday afternoon.  The game has been changed to Sunday, November 29, 2020 @ 1:00 pm.  Steelers will wear their color-rush uniforms. Unfortunately because of an increased Covid-19 spike, no fans will be allowed to attend.🤬

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Are you McLovin all this crap yet?

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The 10-0 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the 6-4 Baltimore Ravens

🙏 Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA (A little home cooking this time).💛💛 💛

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Series History: Steelers lead the Ravens 29-24. Last Meeting went down to the wire with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Justine Layne breaking up a pass intended for Willie Snead. Steelers come from behind and steel one 28-24.

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Big Ben is hoping to eat up the Ravens defense. Hopefully it tastes like chicken or turkey and the Ravens don't make the unbeaten Steelers eat crow!

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Steelers and Ravens contests are always physical. Ravens are looking to bring the angry bird heat to the Steelers!

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Key Ravens Defenders: CB's Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, LBer's Patrick Queen, LJ Fort, Yannick Ngakoue, Matthew Judon, Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe (Now in Covid protocol due to illness), NG Brandon Williams (In Covid protocol as close contact)

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The Steelers offensive line will face another stiff challenge against a Ravens defense that looks like a pro bowl squad. Can they take a more assertive approach to the run game? 

1. The Steelers offense must start playing with more consistency.  Too often the offense is struggling, missing opportunities to go up early and or extend drives.  They must focus on the little things. This is what I believe is keeping the Steelers offense from being more consistent and scoring points. A slip here, a bad pass or block pass there, a drop, a missed block, or no push have hampered the Steelers offense and kept them from being consistent let alone elite.  The offense needs better execution during plays. Period!

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2. Run James Connor downhill. I have said this before. Connor, while deceptively faster than his 4.6+ speed, is best running between the tackles and straight ahead. He made a few nice runs bouncing outside against the Jaguars, but the Ravens LB'ers are faster, more consistent and frankly better. The North running plays going forward favor Connor's style than Conner trying to bounce outside and beat quicker defenders outside. Be smart, run hard and if you must trap or run wide, do it quickly. You won't have a lot of time against this run defense to make, let alone, find the open running holes.

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3. Protect the franchise. The Steelers will only go as far as Big Ben will take them. The OL has been outstanding at protecting Ben and keeping him from getting sacked and hit a lot. A decent ground/rushing attack would help as well. The more Big Ben drops back, the more he is exposed to getting hit (even if not sacked). The Steelers will have to be creative and physical to get the rushing attack going. They barely use play action passing because they typically run and the defense is not freezing in fear of a pass or threat of solid rushing attack.  The defense just flows to the ball.  Let the pass and run compliment each other. Some of the quick passes that are tipped every game could be avoided with being able to run better and Ben pump faking.  He is one of the best at it and got back to his famous pump a few times against Jacksonville. You don't want tipped balls with the Ravens defenders around. They will make you pay.

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4. The last game the Ravens offense wore down the Steelers defense by controlling the ball and time of possession particularly in the first three quarters.  The Steelers offense has to keep the first down chains moving and if they don't put up points, avoid three and outs and then flip the field.  They also have to be more consistent in attacking on offense. Pick your spots to go deep and if it is third and two or three why throw a 40-yard pass? Just get the first down in that situation. Get into a flow or rhythm early. Use the Titans first two series game plan (hopefully execution more consistently). That was the one quarter where the Steelers offense played near flawless football. Move the chains and wear out their defense. No turnovers either. It is okay to punt (sometimes). A punt is better than a turnover in most cases.

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5. Don't chase after Chase. Chase Claypool is having a marvelous rookie season, but many times the Steelers get caught up with throwing deep rather than moving the chains. (I know broken record syndrome here). 😁On third and one or two, stop trying to connect on a 40 or 50 yard pass when you can connect on a three yard pass that gets the first down (see above). If the running game could add some consistency, the play action can open up and then get Chase isolated one on one against Marcus Peters or Marlon Humphrey.  Both are top tier CB's, but both are physical and will use their hands (beyond five yards). The likelihood of actually getting a long pass  completion or pass interference call is much better getting Chase isolated and having to have the Ravens worry about the run as well. 

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The Ravens are down, but not out. As they say, a wounded animal is one of the most dangerous. Their defense will look to rebound after a disappointing loss and they will certainly not want to lose another rematch game, especially to the Steelers. They are even more desperate in light of their top two RB's being placed on the Covid-19 List/protocol (Ingram and Dobbins). This may force Lamar to try to do too much to help. The Steelers have had some trouble tackling mobile QB's. Tackle well. 

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Bud Dupree and company will have their hands full trying to catch and hold an angry Ravens team that doesn't want to lose another game in the play-off hunt and want revenge on the Steelers.  

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Key Ravens Offensive players: RB's Mark ingram, JK Dobbins (Covid-19 Protocol), Gus Edwards, WR's Willie Snead, Marquise Brown, TE Mark Andrews, OL Orlando Brown, Matt Skura, DJ Fluker.

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1. The Ravens will seek to eat up the Steelers runs defense again. This will be harder without Dobbins and Ingram, but Gus Edwards has run well against the Steelers in the past. The Steelers should be stronger in the run defense getting some injured players back. However, the Ravens will probably look to utilize TE Mark Andrews more than in their first meeting.  Terrell Edmunds needs to continue playing good football. Consistency has been a problem for Edmunds and the Steelers defense is hoping he turned the corner and can build on his first career two interception game.

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2. Minkah has been bringing it lately. We will need more of his big play ability and leadership at home this Thursday night. The Steelers will have to be disciplined on defense. The hope is that they can get up early and extend the lead and force the Ravens into playing the Steelers game. That didn't happen the first game. Minkah will need to continue his stellar play that has been getting better since the later part of the first half of the season.

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3.Contain the Ravens WR's. Marquise Brown has a TD in each of his games against the Steelers and will be looking to add TD #4 in his career against Pittsburgh.  Brown is dangerous and if the Steelers can contain Gus Edwards and company's running, Lamar Jackson will try to get the ball into Brown and Willie 'Sneaky" Snead's hands!  Sneed has had some solid games against the Steelers and has made some big catches. Hopefully Joe Haden is able to go, if not Cam Sutton and Justin Layne will see more action and must be up to the task. Both Haden and Sutton have been playing pretty solid football over the past month. 

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4. Stop the run. The Ravens embarrassed the proud Steelers run defense which has not been the quite the same since letting JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Lamar Jackson run for over 250 yards last game and eat up the clock. They did play better in the second half, and this will be a huge key to a Steelers victory in making the Ravens throw when they have to.

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Steelers run defense has not had the same dominance as they did early in the season. They look to get back on track against a tough and physical Ravens offense. The Ravens would love to slow the game down, pound the Steelers defense all game and keep it close. They have the best kicker in the NFL (no disrespect to Boz) and know that Tucker would be clutch for them if it came down to a game winning FG. He's done it before. Make having no Ingram and Dobbins a big problem for the Ravens rushing attack.

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5. Win the turnover battle. While, I hope the offense plays four quarters like they did the fourth quarter of the last Ravens/Steelers game in Baltimore, the team will need the help of the defense to create some opportunities for the offense. The offense will need to do a better job of converting those opportunities into touchdowns and keeping the Ravens offense on the sideline. Typically in this battle, the team that wins the turnover battle wins the game. Backs and receivers need to hold onto the ball with both hands. Limit the tipped passes. Pump fake and some of those quick RPO's could be eliminated with some solid downhill running.  Don't try to do too much and force the ball. The Steelers have gotten hurt gambling at times. Although I did think the endzone INT by the Jaguars Safety Daniel thomas was clear pass interference against James Washington (he pushed Washington out of the way). The questions is that is twice (Titans game as well) the Steelers missed out on adding three points before the half forcing the ball in the endzone. 

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Simply put, Justin Tucker is the best in the NFL. The Steelers have now slouch in Boz either, but you don't want to allow the game to come down to Tucker having to make a FG. He's deadly accurate and clutch. The Ravens have always been strong on special teams They have Tucker as well as punter Sam Koch. They have solid coverage teams and returners. The Steelers special teams have had some big plays against them and stopped some as well. They do not want this game to come down to Justin Tucker having to make a kick to win. He typically does!!!🥶  Play smart and do not let this game come down to one possession or play. 

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Coach Harbaugh was intense and chippy against Coach Vrabel and the Titans. I expect the same this Thursday night in Pittsburgh. He will have the Ravens ready to play. The Steelers have faced adversity and overcome a variety of issues over the past several years. The Ravens are a great organization with a great HC. Do not lose the X and O's battle here. The Steelers have to play four full quarters and excel and compete in all four aspects of the game: Offense, Defense, Special Teams and Coaching. 

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I predicted that the Ravens and Steelers would split before the start of the season and the Steelers surprised me winning in Baltimore. I honestly didn't see that happening even though I picked the Steelers to upset the Ravens at home and win in my GDT. 

The Steelers now have an opportunity to beat a rival and send them reeling in the play-off hunt. The Ravens have sick players and the game is still scheduled to be played as of (Wednesday, November 25, 2020 @11:30 am). The Ravens beat up on the Steelers without Big Ben last year, so I am hoping the Steelers return the favor to the Ravens in spades! 

There is a difference in being undefeated and perfect. The Steelers are not by any means a perfect football team. Coach John Wooden says, "Don't mistake activity with achievement."  “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman's Odyssey   “I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.” ― Yohji Yamamoto.  This is my favorite quote to describe the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers.

As Coach Mike Tomlin says, "The only thing perfect about us is our record."  Let's hope that that can continue. No one cares as much about going undefeated as winning Lombardi #7.  I believe that #7 is special in 2020. Big Ben's number, the team's pursuit of Lombardi #7 and 7 is the number of completion! 

2020 has been a crazy year for the entire world with a pandemic and the multitude of other worldly issues and concerns. I think #7 keeps it going at home and Pittsburgh shocks the hungry and desperate Ravens again, but this time at home on a short week (this has been one of the longest short weeks ever). We still win 27-16.   

I think the Ravens will still make the play-offs. However, I believe that Pittsburgh is a team of destiny. Will it be to surprisingly go unbeaten and capture #7 or to fall short in one or both tasks? In the end, we (Steelers Nation) don't care about unbeaten as much as winning #7. I believe that they can do it despite the harder that it gets each week. Another week and another tough challenge and opportunity for greatness and history! Go Steelers!

 

Edited by Steeler Hitman
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57 minutes ago, Steeler Hitman said:

However, Pittsburgh is a team of destiny

this is a way of looking at it. First NOT A SINGLE PLAYER from he Steelers  opts out due to covid, but more important is that the team hasn't had nearly the amount serious injuries as most teams. Bush was our ACL loss for the season, but overall this team has been surviving the injury front. 

This team appears more focused than in recent times, and more team oriented. Not having a diva at WR as well as having a legit top tier  defence helps.  Ben also seems more like a leader focused on winning a SB rather than complaining to the media about players or hinting through the media. It's just a more focused and mature team that is talented enough to be a threat. Aren't we all glad the drama is gone and over ?

The game I want is AFCCG vs the Chiefs but there are other teams that have serious chances IMO, mainly Colts and possibly the Raiders as they play the Chiefs well. They left too much time on the clock last night.

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12 minutes ago, 3rivers said:

this is a way of looking at it. First NOT A SINGLE PLAYER from the Steelers  opts out due to covid, but more important is that the team hasn't had nearly the amount serious injuries as most teams. Bush was our ACL loss for the season, but overall this team has been surviving the injury front.

 🙏🙏🙏🙏  Let's hope that this continues.

This team appears more focused than in recent times, and more team oriented. Not having a diva at WR as well as having a legit top tier  defence helps.  Ben also seems more like a leader focused on winning a SB rather than complaining to the media about players or hinting through the media.

My theory or hypothesis on that is that Ben has matured through some adversity. I believe that the comments made about him being a good teammate and leader by former Steelers motivated him to prove them wrong. Him sitting and watching this team compete without him while he was injured lit a fire (passion). He had time to reflect and recommit to his goal of winning Super Bowls (plural). 

It's just a more focused and mature team that is talented enough to be a threat. Aren't we all glad the drama is gone and over ?

Agreed on both. I think everyone grew from the drama. Coach Tomlin and Ben didn't get beat up, but certainly got a black eye by many in the media and listening to comments made by former teammates. Nothing better than to be able to give it back to those who dished it out. 

The game I want is AFCCG vs the Chiefs but there are other teams that have serious chances IMO, mainly Colts and possibly the Raiders as they play the Chiefs well.

Both the Bills and Dolphins look like they could beat anyone if they didn't bring their A Game. The Colts and Titans are equally up to the same task. If you slip against either team, they will beat you. The Ravens will always get my respect. Great organization and coach who will fight you tooth and nail. They are not going anywhere and no one wants to see that team in the play-offs. Cleveland is physical and while I don't consider them the cream of the crop, they are still finding ways to win. Raiders play hard and have a powerful rushing attack and underrated passing attack. Chiefs are the champs and have a once every 25 year special QB .  Be careful who you ask for. I remember 1995 many Steelers fans did the same thing and almost got beat by the Colts in the AFCCG. Right now, I am locked in on one game at a time. Thursday night is not going to be easy. None of the rest of the regular season or playoff games will be regardless of the score.

They left too much time on the clock last night.

No doubt. Everyone said that. the penalty and some of the dropped passes on the drive stopped the clock. Would have been ideal to knock another 45 seconds to a minute off the clock. It shows how dangerous Mahomes and the Chiefs are. They never panicked. Kelse and Hill lit the Raiders defense up in the end. Great teams can do that. You have to take those opportunities away. That dropped deep ball by Agholar the previous drive really hurt because that could have put at least three more on the board or scored a TD. Then they are definitely eatin gup more clock at the end as opposed to needing to score a TD.

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The one major thing we gotta keep in mind is Baltimore is truly reeling st this point, back to back losses, 3 out of 4 losses in the last 4 weeks (one to us). It goes without saying the Ravens don't just want this win, they NEED this win. It all but eliminates them from being able to win the division if they lose and could ultimately eliminate them from the playoffs.

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interesting that the NFL did not move niners/packers to sunday when SF got hit with Covid

this thanksgiving game is a ratings boom, so I can see the NFL saying "we don't care, the game is staying on this thanksgiving"

Edited by August4th
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31 minutes ago, August4th said:

interesting that the NFL did not move niners/packers to sunday when SF got hit with Covid

this thanksgiving game is a ratings boom, so I can see the NFL saying "we don't care, the game is staying on this thanksgiving"

Nothing says Thanksgiving tradition like spreading a disease! 

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When thinking about self scouting, I was really never concerned about having to make any big adjustment to stop their run game (or, contain is probably a better word). We should organically get better by virtue of Tyson being available all game and Hilton being here this time. We also had 3 weeks to prepare new sub packages with guys like Allen and brought in a run and tackle guy that they played around with (even for 1 snap) in a 1-5-5 yesterday. Feels like that should be enough to address it without changing anything we did attacking wise. 

The fact that their RB room is taking a hit also helps. 

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