The Baltimore Ravens may be reeling right now, but they have an opportunity to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers this week and get back on track.
It’s been one helluva stressful week for both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers with their match up moved not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. What was supposed to be a Thanksgiving Day prime-time game is now being played Wednesday afternoon. It’s been a very frustrating process for both organizations and fan bases, that’s for sure.
But I’m not here to talk about the politics behind this game. No, I’m here to talk about whether or not Baltimore can upset Pittsburgh.
As of now, this task seems impossible. The Ravens are without several of their best players due to COVID-19, including Lamar Jackson, as of writing this. Several players were recently activated from the COVID-19 list with the headliner of the group being Brandon Williams, so that’s certainly a good sign. There’s also a chance that guys like Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins could also be activated for the game. If the team gets these guys back, it significantly improves their chances of winning.
We’ll focus on the roster as is for the sake of this article’s integrity and not play the “what if” game. With that in mind, Baltimore is currently without Jackson, Ingram, Dobbins, Mark Andrews, Willie Snead, and Matt Judon due to COVID-19 and are also without Calais Campbell due to injury (calf). Those are arguably the best and most important players to the Ravens on both sides of the ball. Considering the Ravens were already thin on pass catchers and pass rushers, these losses hurt big-time, especially against a Steelers team where you need to be able to pass the ball to open up the run game and rush the passer to throw off the offense’s rhythm.
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There are a few positives here, however. Robert Griffin III is one of the league’s better backup quarterbacks and did beat a Pittsburgh team in week 17 last year that was vying for a playoff spot. RGIII also has some decent options to throw to in Marquise Brown, who has no excuses not to step up, and Dez Bryant, who looked very solid in his first game with major action against the Tennessee Titans. Baltimore also has a terrific running back duo of Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, so even without Ingram and Dobbins, the Ravens should still be able to run the football effectively. Hill is also a solid pass catcher. All things considered, that cast is solid. At the very least, it could be much worse.
Defensively, the secondary will need to play lights out. Marcus Peters cannot afford to play subpar again this week and Marlon Humphrey needs to step up, too. the safety dup of Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott has been pleasantly surprising and needs to be the best part of the defense this week both against the run and pass. Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison will also need to patrol the middle of the defense well and limit the Steelers’ offense. Both guys need to have the best games of their young careers.
The bottom line is this: The odds are heavily stacked against the Ravens this week with so many key guys missing from the lineup. It doesn’t hurt the team is on the road, either. This game is not impossible to win, however. You can never count a team out in a divisional matchup. Remember, the 5-11 Baltimore Ravens in 2015 actually swept the 10-6 Pittsburgh Steelers that year, and those Ravens were a BAD football team. This Ravens team is far superior to that team and even with so many out of the lineup they still match up well against these Steelers.
Here’s the TL;DR version: Baltimore is bad, but they can still win if everyone steps up.
All in all, the Baltimore Ravens simply have to play their best football. The team can’t afford the mental lapses it’s had in previous weeks. Baltimore can’t risk dropping to 6-5 and 0-3 in their last three games. It’s time to nut up or shut up and remind everyone what this team is all about.