Ravens vs Steelers: Top match-ups Baltimore must win on Sunday
The cornerbacks vs. Antonio Brown:
The last time the Ravens took on Pittsburgh, the team was without cornerback Jimmy Smith, leaving second-year man Marlon Humphrey up to the task of slowing-down Antonio Brown. We have to emphasize “slowing-down” because everyone knows how great of a receiver AB is. This was exactly the case, as Brown caught five passes for 62-yards and a ridiculous touchdown grab. On said touchdown, Humphrey had textbook coverage; it was simply one of those plays where you have to tip your hat to the receiver.
Going into tomorrow, Humphrey is questionable for the game but Smith should be slated to start. Smith has been outstanding against Brown historically, giving the future Hall of Fame receiver fits on a regular basis. However, Smith has struggled in 2018 and may no longer be up to the task of locking down AB.
If Humphrey suits up to play, it’ll be up to both of these men to lockup against Brown. While JuJu Smith-Schuster has also been on a tear thus far in 2018, stopping Brown will be a much larger task. It’ll be up to (hopefully) Humphrey and Smith to keep the game close and keep Brown out of the end-zone.
The offensive tackles vs. T.J. Watt:
The Ravens will be without Ronnie Stanley on Sunday, the worst possible news Baltimore could be given before taking on Pittsburgh. This will likely leave Jermaine Elumenor up to the task at manning the left tackle spot, as Orlando Brown Jr. will man right tackle with James Hurst also missing this week’s game. Far from an ideal situation against such a hated rival.
Meanwhile, the Steelers 2017 first round draft choice, T.J. Watt, has seven sacks on the season an has stepped up big time for Pittsburgh’s defense. Losing Ryan Shazier was a major blow that derailed the team’s defense in 2017, and Watt has become the man in his place. Watt is making tackles, generating pressure, and leading by example, making him a tough opponent to try and slow-down.
No Ronnie Stanley will put a huge emphasis on the Ravens to come up with special protection packages to keep Joe Flacco clean. No offence to Elumenor, but he’s likely no match against Watt for 60-minutes. The Ravens will need all sorts of help to keep their quarterback upright, especially if this game turns into a shootout.