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Old 12-24-2006, 04:07 AM   #1
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Default Game 15 Matchup: Steelers vs. Ravens

Gerry Dulac breaks down this 'Stayin' Alive' game
Sunday, December 24, 2006


Game plan


What the Steelers will do: After letting Ben Roethlisbergerr be sacked nine times in the first meeting, they must protect him better. And Roethlisberger has to make good decisions -- as he has the past three games -- because the Ravens lead the AFC with 34 takeaways, including a league-best 24 interceptions. More important, the Steelers have to be able to run the ball with Willie Parker, who had 22 yards on 10 carries in the first meeting. Defensively, they have to do a better job against RB Jamal Lewis, who gouged them for 61 of the Ravens' 94 yards in the first half.

What the Ravens will do: They did a tremendous job disguising their defensive fronts that disrupted the offensive line in the first meeting. They are second in the NFL in run defense (79.4 ypg) and will use tackles Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata, to stuff the middle and force the flow to their outside quickness. QB Steve McNair, who had his throwing hand stepped on last week, is expected to play. The passing game is more productive than in recent years because McNair has done well dispersing the ball to three receivers -- TE Todd Heap (64), Derrick Mason (61) and Mark Clayton (58).


Keep an eye on ...


Ravens FS Ed Reed: Has been to the Pro Bowl every year except 2005, when injuries caused him to miss the final six games. He makes more big plays than any defensive back in the league. Since 2002, he is second among active NFL players with 26 INTs. However, his 713 return yards are more than any other player, proof of Reed's big-play ability. In 2004, he led the league with nine INTs and set an NFL record with 358 return yards, including a 106-yard return. Roethlisberger will have to identify where Reed is at all times.


Data

Game: Baltimore Ravens (11-3) at Steelers (7-7).
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Heinz Field.
TV: KDKA.
Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5), WBGG-AM (970)


Intangibles


The Ravens have already clinched the AFC North, but still have a chance to get a first-round bye and even home-field advantage. The Steelers have won three in a row. What's more, they are coming off back-to-back games in which they played well in all three areas -- offense, defense and special teams. Plus, they have won the past five meetings at home.


Keys to victory


To win, the Ravens must ...

1. Not let Willie run silly. Parker has averaged 144.2 yards rushing in his past four home games.

2. Ward off problems in the secondary. Hines Ward has 34 catches for 330 yards and three TDs in five games vs. Ravens at Heinz Field.

3. Have a Heap of big plays. Had only one play of 20 yards or longer in first meeting, and that was 20-yard TD to their TE on first possesson.

To win, the Steelers must ...

1. Wear a pocket protector. Roethlisberger was sacked nine times in the first game, including six in the second half when the Ravens had the lead.

2. Not err with McNair. He threw for only 121 yards in the first meeting, but hurt them with short passes that sustained drives.

3. Jump Jamal. Lewis ran through them with ease in the first half, allowing the Ravens to possess the ball for 20 minutes and take a 17-0 lead.
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Old 12-24-2006, 06:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Game 15 Matchup: Steelers vs. Ravens

Yeah.. I definitely think that the most important part of this game is to protect Ben Alot Better and learn from the first meeting with the Ravens. They are a solid team and there is no room for error against them. If I were the Ravens I would not have thrown a pass in the first half last game as well as Lewis was runnin' the ball through our defense, that is something you dont see much. It seemed like McNair just kept making little plays last time that just kept drives going for them, we must get pressure on him and rattle him early and often. Its time for this defense to take offense to this Ravens team saying that they are the better defensive team right now and maybe ever... I woulld have loved to see Troy in this game healthy and all but he needs to sit and come back maybe against Cincy if we are still play off alive.
Merry Christmas To Everyone...
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