Pees: Steelers still a challenge without Roethlisberger
The Ravens have their biggest game of the year this Sunday in Pittsburgh. They hold a one-game lead over the Steelers heading into this match-up, and the Ravens will play the Steelers twice in the next three weeks, an odd piece of scheduling from the NFL.
But that's where the Ravens are, and here's a few predictions for the defense from that game.
1. The loss of Ben Roethlisberger does not guarantee a Baltimore victory; the defense still is going to have plenty of work to do-- Byron Leftwich replaces the long-time Pittsburgh starter, and he can still do plenty. Leftwich came into the NFL as a first-round draft pick with the Jaguars and even though he started for a few seasons, never quite lived up to his billing. However, he's a good to have on the bench. This is an experienced quarterback who knows the game and how to play it. The big plus for the Ravens is that they won't have to worry about the QB running around in the pocket.
2. The run defense will be tested -- The Ravens have played much better against the run the past two weeks, but the Browns and Raiders are not the Steelers. The Steelers might look more to the ground game if Leftwich runs into trouble. If Pittsburgh can run, whichever back the team uses, then that will take some pressure off the new QB.
3. Terrell Suggs will have a big game-- Suggs now is going to be in his fourth game back, and these are the kinds of contests where he shows up. It's a big game, on national TV and versus the team's biggest rival; so you can bet Suggs is going to find his way into the spotlight. If he can get some good pass rushes on Leftwich, it could disrupt the Pittsburgh offense. One or two good plays like that could change the game around. Suggs will be there.