Peyton Hillis ran on these Ratties like they were the Lions or *something. I doubt they allow that to happen again, but Mendenhall has been getting his yards, as Otis would say, "in big gashes." Ravens will stack against the run and send everything they can at Charlie. If he doesn't get killed, that could mean some big plays. Doubt we surprise them with 17, but Reed is out so the CB will need Zbikowski over the top. Zibby is a guy who can make some plays, but he def doesn't have the deep wheels. Aside from turnovers, we win or lose this game up front, our OL against their front 7+. They'll be taking crazy shots at us hoping to knock Batch out of the game. Expect a lot of dirty ass motherfucker hits, even for these bastards.
I don't care if Ray Rice's knee is bruised, he'll run and run it well, even against us. And McClain is 5x the load that LeGarrett Blount is, IMO. We'll be doing our best to keep those two under 100, but it'll be tough. Good news for the DL rotation is that Hokie may be back already. What puzzles me is that Heap is relatively healthy, Mason is still a reliable go-to, and now they have Boldin, yet their passing game seems sort of scattershot. I think 20 and 24 will do fine against the Mason and Boldin, and 94 is playing lights out, so he can cover Heap. Really, past those guys they don't have a lot. Stallworth (the DUI guy, not the PS HOFer) is hurt. Flacco's looked rattled to me, and the Jets D really shut his ass down. Hell, they had a hard time getting going until late against the Browns.
Sets up as a typical PS-BR slobberknocker, of the aforementioned 12-9 variety, but if the Steelers can hold a pocket and CB can keep the ball coming out and test that paper secondary we could blow the roof off the mother. In other words, a close, hard-fought game, unless it isn't, and if it isn't it's all us.
If we get the passing game going, it could be a 24-10 type of deal.
DVOA on Football Outsiders and Sagarin ratings both skew Steelers. Overall DVOA for us is 33.50%, and Balty is an atypical -1.30%. Sagarin has it Steelers 29.12 (+3.16 HFA, or 32.28) and 23.41 Balty, or a spread of about 9 points.
Digging deeper into the DVOA
, which gets more accurate as the season progresses and the inter-team data deepens. Remember that positive DVOA is good on offense and STs, and negative is good on defense:PSO v. BRD
Passing: -18.4% (25th) v. -21.7% (4th)
Rushing: 7.4% (7th) v. -2.5% (19th)
Overall: -8.4% (27th) v. -12.0% (6th)
It's no surprise our passing game has been largely ineffective: it was able to carve out some big plays against TB, but primarily in the first half, so 16 of 18 quarters have been lackluster. Hard to ignore how well CB played once he settled though. The big surprise is how efficient the BR pass defense has been without Reed and a secondary sans Foxworth and Webb. That's all about applying pressure up front, as noted above. The numbers look bad for us passing, but as I noted we could break out.
The PS rush game is no surprise: we've been tearing yardage out of opponents like a great white shark tears chunks out of slow swimmers. The BR are again the real surprise: you'd expect their pass and rush DVOA to be switched. This seems to indicate we'll be able to rush the ball, especially since ATL, TEN, and TB all rank higher in rush defense DVOA. I ust don't buy it in a meaningful divisional game where the BRD sees stopping the run and pressuring the QB as the key. But it's possible we'll all be surprised.
Over/under 90 yards for Rashard Mendenhall?BRO v. PSD
Passing: 2.3% (21st) v. -29.4% (3rd)
Rushing: -16.9% (26th) v. -40.5% (3rd)
Overall: -12.3% (30th) v. -33.7% (1st)
Yep, it's hard to believe, but the PSO has a higher DVOA than the BRO. Not only that, but the real weak spot is the effectiveness of the running game. Steelers are stout across the board, so it looks like a complete mismatch however the BRO tries to attack.
I'm having a hard time seeing this offense scoring more than 10 on us.PS ST v. BR ST
PS: 8.2% (2nd)
BR: -1.0 (19th)
I gotta say, two guys who seem to be having an immediate impact are OL coach Sean Kugler and ST coach Al Everest. It astounds me to be ranked second league-wide in ST DVOA.
*Baltimore has allowed 383 yards rushing through 3 games, good for 23rd best in the NFL, between 22 Philly and 24 Oakland. Their 4.7 YPC may be even more telling, 26th in the NFL, as YPA tells you their consistency against the run and not just that a team attempted to run a bunch of times. Cf. Pittsburgh, 3rd in yards allowed (179) and 4th in YPC (2.6!).