Each week, I contact the editor of the FanSided team blog the Ravens ..."/>

Each week, I contact the editor of the FanSided team blog the Ravens ..."/>

Know Your Enemy: Pittsburgh Steelers Round Two


Each week, I contact the editor of the FanSided team blog the Ravens are playing that Week.  This week I wrote five questions to Craig Gottschalk, editor of the Steelers blog NicePickCowher.  Read what he has to say about the rivalry and more.

1. With much confusion surrounding the Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison injuries, do you think the Steelers are throwing up smoke screens or do they really not know if they will play?

"Just after you wrote these questions, the Steelers officially reported Woodley out for this Sunday.  Following the Steelers for as long as I have, they have never been ones to report in intimate details the situations of their injured players.  I don’t think it’s meant to throw up smoke, but rather they would save face at the end of the day should they say a player is healthy then have to report them as inactive come game day.  I think this is true otherwise we wouldn’t have heard about Woodley today.  I also think when you have players that are so committed to playing week in and week out – especially when it comes to their hated rival – they will want to play and do whatever they can to get cleared."

The rest of our interview after the jump…

2. How much impact to you think the outcome of this game will have? Do you think the winner will take the division?

"I think it will have more of an impact on the Ravens than the Steelers.  Should the Steelers win, they obviously are sitting in the drivers seat, but they still have two games against the Bungles – which are played as 2 games in 3 weeks.  The impact of this win really won’t have a ripple effect until we see the outcomes of those other two games.  The Ravens have an easy game against the Seahawks following the Steelers before they play the Bungles, then they don’t see them again until the last game of the season.  So they have more time to adjust within the division.  Let’s just put it this way – even if the Steelers beat the Ravens, I still am fairly confident that we will see these two teams in a divisional playoff game."

3. After struggling in all three phases in week one, what’s the Steelers gameplan this time around?

"I think it’s the same with the exception of the running game – which will be non existent.  Perhaps we’ll see some wrinkles in the blitz packages like we saw against the Pats.  But overall, the Steelers are going to do what they’ve been doing all season.  The game plan wasn’t the problem in week 1."

4. The team from week one and the team entering week nine look much different. What has changed for the Steelers since then?

"The passing game.  Ben has hit a hot streak and has really connected with a young, fast and talented receiving core.  He has taken advantage of so many targets.  I had written earlier in the season that having so many targets could be problematic, but I think they’ve really worked that out.  There isn’t a secondary deep enough in this league that can handle all these receivers.  No offense to the Ravens D, but if Ben doesn’t get over 275+ yards with a couple touchdowns again this week then the offense blew it."

5. Will there be a blowout like in week one by either team?

"I don’t really think so.  I think it will be a tale of two different evolving offenses.  The Ravens heavily relied on Flacco from the start of the season and can’t.  They need strong running from Rice.  The Steelers have been the opposite.  They have always relied on a strong running game and have turned to Roethlisberger to really carry this team.  I think both teams will score a bunch of points.  I don’t know what the over/under is for this game… but if it’s 30, I would certainly take the over."

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