The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens seem to always have close games. The Steelers are coming into the Week 4 matchup after a win against the St. Louis Rams to put them at 2-1. The Ravens are still looking for their first win in the young 2015 season. The Steelers are entering the game looking to keep up with the Cincinnati Bengals and not let them run away with the division. Standing at fourth in the AFC North, Baltimore is looking to get their season kick-started with a big win over a big rival. The game is set for Oct. 1 with the kickoff scheduled at 8:25 p.m. Here are some predictions from our staff members on how this game could turn out.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are coming into this game in two different places. The Steelers have two straight wins under their belt and the Ravens will be doing anything they can to try and snag their first win of the season. That being said, Pittsburgh is missing one of the major pieces of their team. Ben Roethlisberger suffered a MCL tear in the third quarter in Week 3 and he is expected to miss at least four weeks. Michael Vick is scheduled to get the start in Roethlisberger’s absence. Vick has shown great flashes throughout his career but he has been only decent in the past few years. The Steelers will have to call different plays for Vick because he is a much more mobile QB than Big Ben, which may be a hard task to do in a short week.
With the lack of offensive firepower this week, the Steelers’ defense will need to do their best to stop the Ravens. Joe Flacco and Steve Smith Sr. are the best quarterback wide receiver pairing since the Steelers faced the New England Patriots in Week 1, when Tom Brady and Julian Edleman tore apart Pittsburgh. Smith Sr. has defied old age and proven that he can still play the game with the best of them so the Steel Curtain defense will have their hands full with the passing game. Justin Forsett has not been as big of a factor so far this season and Pittsburgh may have a solid enough run defense to keep Baltimore’s ground game in check. Flacco and Baltimore’s offense should meet some resistance, but they will definitely be able to score some points.
The fact that this game is on Thursday does not go well for the Steelers. Vick will have had less than a week to build chemistry with the first team. On top of Vick not having enough time to adjust, and the offense not having enough time to adjust to him, the Ravens are desperate for a win. Baltimore will try everything to come away with a win and the defense will have a hard time controlling Smith Sr.
Ravens win, 24-17.
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If the Steelers had a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, this would’ve been a no-brainer for me. But with Michael Vick at quarterback instead, this is a much tougher prediction to make.
Vick has had limited success in recent years as a starter, but he also hasn’t had the talent around him like he does in Pittsburgh. As long as Vick gets good protection from the offensive line, takes care of the ball and makes smart throws, the Steelers should be able to have success against a Ravens secondary that has not played well this season. We should see a heavy dose of Le’Veon Bell in this one, though it may be more in the passing game than the running game, as the Ravens still have a pretty stout front seven.
The Ravens are off to a franchise-worst start at 0-3, but are probably not as bad as their record would indicate. They put up a good fight in all three of their games to this point, losing by a combined 14 points. They still have one of the better quarterbacks in the league in Joe Flacco and, despite his age, Steve Smith Sr., is still a dangerous wide receiver. They’ve struggled to get anything going in the running game, however, as Justin Forsett is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. That doesn’t figure to get much better against the Steelers, who have proven to have a tough defense to run against. If the Steelers can contain Flacco, they have a good shot at winning this one.
It’s hard to predict anything for certain when it comes to this rivalry, but I’ll say the Steelers win, 22-17.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers have a short week to deal with a major issue; preparing for a rivalry game against the Baltimore Ravens without Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger suffered a leg injury in the victory over the St. Louis Rams last week and could possibly miss six weeks football. Back-up veteran Michael Vick will be under center and will have to command the offense efficiently if he wants to lead Pittsburgh to victory against the Ravens. A bright note for Vick is one of the Raven’s most dominant pass rushers Terrell Suggs tore his ACL and is done for the season. The absence of Roethlisberger may have made the game a little more competitive because Baltimore has struggled to keep opponents from scoring points all season. Vick will need to use Le’Veon Bell in times where getting the ball out of his hands quick is his best option. The defense will have to keep an eye on veteran Steve Smith and play him physically to keep him from making big plays. Joe Flacco should be pressured often so that he does not have time to establish a rhythm throwing the ball.
Steelers win, 17-13.
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Despite the 0-3 record, the Baltimore Ravens are still a good team. Baltimore has lost by a combined total of 14 points, so they very easily could be 3-0. A Thursday road game is a tough task, especially one against their biggest rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers, despite being 2-1, face a tough challenge ahead as well after losing QB Ben Roethlisberger with a MCL tear. Although they lost Roethlisberger, this game should be close like most games between these two.
Offensively for the Ravens, it will probably be a mixed bag of good and bad plays. Pittsburgh is coming off two solid defensive performances, albeit it was against the 49ers and Rams. Flacco is better than either quarterback the Steelers have played the last two weeks, but he has had problems with turnovers, already throwing 4 interceptions. Flacco will get plenty of yards, but will probably throw an interception or two as well due to his lack of receiving options. Rushing the ball will not be any help in this game. Forsett is having an awful season having only 124 yards on 39 carries. The Steelers have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher and things do not look they will change this week. The Baltimore offense will have to rely on Flacco passing a lot to Steve Smith in order to have success.
On the defensive side, the main focus for Baltimore will be stopping Le’Veon Bell. With Roethlisberger out, Pittsburgh will have to do a run heavy offense to win. Baltimore has a very stout run defense, making this a clash of two powerhouses. The advantage goes to the Ravens though because it is obvious that the Steelers will try to run the ball. Passing the ball, it is highly unlikely that Vick plays like when he was a Falcon. Vick has struggled over the past few seasons and being thrown into a Thursday game against the division rival Ravens is no easy task. The Baltimore pass defense has been atrocious over the last two weeks, but should take care of business against Vick. Expect plenty of turnovers, whether it be interceptions or fumbles.
Ravens win, 21-13.