5. Stopping Le’Veon Bell:
Bell is simply one of the best running backs in football. With 1,146 rushing yards he the third leading rusher in the NFL. Bell rushed for 236 yards against the Bills and it was his fifth game over 100 yards this season. Bell is also a capable receiver; he has 72 receptions for 601 yards this season. By the way, this all came in 11 games. If you have seen the Steelers play this season, you know that Bell is often sparked on the ground by getting involved in the passing game.
The Ravens held Bell to 32 yards earlier this season, a season low. It is a little misleading as Bell only was handed the football 14 times. The Ravens jumped out to a 21-0 lead which took Bell out of the equation. The Ravens run defense has done some pretty impressive things. Until last week, the Ravens were a defense you just could not run against. Ryan Matthews and the Eagles got over 130 rushing yards against the Ravens. The defense spent the entire season as the number one ranked rush defense, but now are number two.
The Ravens performance against the Eagles was not typical. While it is easy to fall into the Bell is better than Matthews train of thought, it ignores Baltimore’s body of work. Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Timmy Jernigan and Lawrence Guy didn’t go anywhere. C.J. Mosley is a Pro Bowl player and Zach Orr is sixth in the NFL for tackles. The Ravens were looking ahead to the Pittsburgh game. They survived while stumbling. Expect a much more alert effort on Sunday.