NFL: Ravens Look to Make a Statement Against Steelers

Al Dannity | Updated Oct 04, 2017

Joe Flacco and the Ravens have a point to prove. They know that if they can’t control the AFC North, they can’t dominate the NFL. On Sunday they get the chance to stake a claim as the best in their division. The Steelers are coming to Baltimore and Al Dannity has his breakdown ready.

Roethlisberger must mix it up Mike Wallace is the rising star amongst NFL receivers. Having dominated in his rookie season, Wallace looks ready to join Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson at the top of the pile. He won’t be the only target for Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday. Pittsburgh needs a dynamic passing game to counter Baltimore’s staunch run-defense. With Haloti Ngata on the defensive line, there will be little room for Rashard Mendenhall to make a difference on the ground.

That means we can expect to see plenty of Hines Ward and Jericho Cotchery, both veterans capable of exposing any over-commitment Baltimore’s secondary may make to Wallace. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders ensure the Steelers have alternative burners to Wallace. The success or failure of Pittsburgh’s offense rests on their ability to exploit Baltimore’s new starters at cornerback, Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams. NFL betting fans using Sports Interaction’s Live Betting should follow these battles closely when making decisions.

Oher has to step up Lamarr Woodley had his way with Michael Oher last season and that simply won’t suffice for the Ravens on Sunday. Oher made a big impression in 2009 but struggled at times after moving to left tackle, the blind side, in 2010. Woodley is an exceptional pass rusher, which is exactly what Joe Flacco doesn’t need to see if he is to get the Ravens’ clicking in this game. The addition of Lee Evans to Baltimore’s receiving corps makes this battle increasingly important. Oher knows that if he can stop Woodley, then Flacco will have the time he needs to work with Evans and Anquan Boldin to move the chains.

With an effective passing game, the dominance of Ray Rice on the ground could prove decisive. I loved Rice at Rutgers and nothing has changed since this human Hadouken entered the NFL. In an insanely tight match-up, it’s going to come down to inches. The Ravens won’t have it easy on the ground but they should be able to find just enough balance on offense to come out on top. I like Baltimore to take first blood on Sunday.