The Steelers ran into a buzz saw in Philadelphia last week. Ben Roethlisberger was bruised and battered, sacked nine times by the blitz happy Eagles. Their offense looked confused and their run game was grounded in their 15-6 loss.
No doubt former Eagles coach, John Harbaugh has been on the phone with his former staff mates and will hope his defense can do the same thing this Monday.
These two teams meet on the grand stage of ABC with the threesome of Tirico and Jaworski breaking things down and Kornheiser annoying anyone within range about Bret Favre. This AFC North matchup is always a physical rivalry but surprisingly there is a little more on the line as the Ravens are 2-0 and Steelers now 2-1 and either can put some distance between them and the bottom dwellers who stand winless. In addition to standings it always about pride and the last time these two teams met on Monday the Steel Curtain embarrassed the Ravens 38-7.
The Steelers come in looking to get back to their winning formula and hope that their offensive line corrects its coverage issues. Ben Roethlisberger is key to the offense and needs time to throw to his core of talented receivers led by Hines Ward. The patented run game will be without Willie Parker and rookie Rashard Mendenhall gets his first start. Another key injury sits on the other side of the ball as massive Casey Hampton will also not suit up as well. Injuries aside the Steelers will be refocused and will be ready for the challenge.
The Ravens so far have kept a simple recipe of aggressive defense and ground control offense as the three headed monster of McGahee, Rice, and McClain lead the attack. The offense has been more effective in the young season, punching in touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. Joe Flacco has be competent in his first two starts but has yet to throw touchdown pass. He will need to protect the ball in his first test away from M&T.
The Steelers looked to be banged up but I think the task ahead for the Ravens may be a bit too daunting. They must play well on the road, something they have not done well in the past and even though they have won 5 out of the last 6 meetings with Pittsburgh. The Steelers are also 13-0 on Monday night since 1992. They should be able to make adjustments and will give Flacco trouble. If he can keep control of the ball it will be close it he has a few turnovers that lead to scores, it won?t
STEELERS 17 RAVENS 13