Steelers Hope To Stay Hot and Beat Ravens on Thursday Night Football
The Pittsburgh Steelers are undefeated through one week of NFL action, and although it was a hard fought battle with the Cleveland Browns, in which the Steelers won by just three points, they will now travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens as part of Week 2's Thursday Night Football. The Baltimore Ravens were beaten in a low scoring game by the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, and another lack luster performance will have them behind the eight ball very early in the 2014 season.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
Thursday September 11, 2014 – 8:25 PM ET
Odds: Ravens -3
What To Watch For From The Pittsburgh Steelers
In the Steelers' Week 1 victory Ben Roethlisberger threw for a game-high 365 yards and did so while completing nearly 68% of his passes on the day. An interception and four sacks helped hold the Steelers to their 30 points, but better blocking from the front five and they easily could have blown out a Browns squad that barely eclipsed the 200 yard passing mark, and instead relied on running the ball for 183 yards on just 30 rushing attempts. The Steelers defense had trouble stopping both Terrance West and Ben Tate, but the Ravens run game has been a huge question mark for weeks now, and the Steelers may get lucky in that they can sit in coverage most of the game and limit the Ravens offense for a second straight week.
What To Watch For From The Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens struggled to score 16 points on the Bengals defense last week, and may face a similar problem against the Steelers on Thursday as Ray Rice will miss one more game, and without him the team ran the ball just 20 times compared to 62 pass attempts by Joe Flacco. Flacco threw for 345 yards and a touchdown, but he completed just over 50% of his passes on the day and was relatively ineffective minus one 80-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith. The Ravens defense was relatively stout throughout the game last Sunday as they limited the Bengals to just 79 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Andy Dalton was able to rack up 301 total passing yards, but 77 of those came on one pass to A.J. Green which resulted in a touchdown and Bengals lead with just under five minutes remaining.
Both teams threw the ball well last week, and since neither has a dominant secondary we could see similar performances out of both Roethlisberger and Flacco on Thursday Night Football. The running game will be key for both squads, however, as it will keep the opposing defense honest while also limiting the opportunity for turnovers. The Steelers enjoyed a nice 21 carry 109 yard performance from Le'Veon Bell last weekend, and since the Ravens will be without their starter Rice it appears as if the Steelers have the early upper-hand and should be undefeated after their second game of the 2014 season.