What: Steelers (4-3) at Ravens (3-4)
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Where: M&T Bank Stadium
OUT – LB Kamalei Correa (thigh), OLB Elvis Dumervil (foot), TE Crockett Gillmore (thigh).
DOUBTFUL – CB Shareece Wright (thigh).
QUESTIONABLE – ILB C. J. Mosley (thigh), WR Steve Smith Sr. (ankle), LT Ronnie Stanley (foot), OLB Terrell Suggs (bicep), S Lardarius Webb (thigh), RG Marshal Yanda (shoulder), CB Tavon Young (concussion).
OUT – C Cody Wallace (knee).
QUESTIONABLE – CB William Gay (foot), QB Ben Roethlisberger (left knee), RB DeAngelo Williams (knee).
Five bold predictions:
1. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will attempt fewer than 40 passes.
Why is that a bold prediction? Because Flacco has at least 40 passing attempts in six straight games. There is a word for that – ridiculous. The Ravens aren’t built to win that way. Pass-happy play calling helped get former Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman fired. After two losses as the new coordinator, and a bye week to examine the offense, Marty Mornhinweg will commit to the run against the Steelers. I think.
2. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell will top 100 yards rushing.
OK, maybe this isn’t so bold. But Bell has gone three straight games without reaching 100 yards rushing, and the Ravens’ defense is ranked fourth in the NFL against the run. The Steelers want to take pressure off Roethlisberger in his first game back from knee surgery. And the Steelers know Jets running back Matt Forte had 100 yards rushing against the Ravens in their last game.
3. Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta will catch his first TD pass of the season.
Pitta has been targeted 8.1 times per game, more than any NFL tight end except Jordan Reed of the Redskins and Greg Olsen of the Panthers. The Flacco-Pitta connection is overdue for a score.
4. Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown won’t have 100 yards, or a TD.
Brown is a terrific player, but he has just one TD in 13 career games against the Ravens, and cornerback Jimmy Smith is back to playing A-level football. Considering some of the big plays the Ravens have given up lately, this is a bold prediction, especially on plays when Smith isn’t matched up with Brown. However, I think the Ravens will pay so much attention to Brown, if they are burned by another receiver, it will be Sammie Coates, who now looks fully recovered from a broken thumb.
5. Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman will have his best NFL game.
In his seven-game career, Perriman has never had more than three catches or 48 yards receiving. But the Steelers have a rookie corner, Artie Burns, making his first start, and the Ravens need to get the ball in Perriman’s hands early to help his confidence.
Prediction: Can the Ravens really lose five straight? Yes. But will they? Not against their archrival, and not at home.
Ravens 23, Steelers 20