Ravens Look to Stop Steelers, Bengals Will Seek Win Against Lions
Both teams are trying to improve their disappointing starts. For the Ravens, they’ve lost their last two of three games (last week’s one was a 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers) and they will try to avoid going under .500.
They’ll look to their ground game to give them a jump start as they’re averaging 72.7 yards per game—No. 26 in the league at an average carry of 2.7 yards per game. Last week was pretty bad as they only had 47 yards total for the game.
Running back Ray Rice is having a career-low year as he’s only averaging 2.8 yards per carry. So much for a fifth consecutive season of 1,000 yards rushing at this rate.
Against Green Bay, he had 14 carries for 34 yards. The player has been batting a hip flexor strain and has said he’s recovered but his numbers tell a different story.
In the past, he’s played well against the Steelers. He has a total of 115 yards (2.3 yards per carry). Will this be the week he breaks out?
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of his team’s challenged running game via the Associated Press, “There’s a lot that goes into it. There are many different things that we’ve looked at over the last few days to try to improve. We definitely have the men to do the job. We’ve got the talent up front and at running back.”
But good luck going up against the Steelers’ defense; they may be turning things around. In their four consecutive losses, they gave up more than 100 yards per game but against the New York Jets, they only allowed a total of 83 yards.
The Ravens have looked to their passing game this season but that has been weak as well without former wider receiver Anquan Boldin and an injured Jacoby Jones (knee).
All of this has contributed to a disappointing season by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. He has been averaging 319 yards passing in his last three games but has a 55.2 pass completion, six interceptions and 11 sacks.
This week, the Ravens will be without Josh Byrnes.
As for the Steelers, they have put a Band-Aid on their turnovers, incurring zero last week against the Jets after having double digits during their losing streak. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also had zero interceptions and went 23 for 30, 264 yards and one touchdown last Sunday.
He’ll face some challenges as his team has been hit by the injury bug. This includes Levi Brown, David Johnson and Jarvis Jones.
The team sits 2.5 games behind the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) and they’re not ready to concede their season is over. They’ve cut down on their turnovers in the last game and will see their second win for the season on Sunday (-2.5, 41 o/u).
As for the Bengals, they’ll face the Detroit Lions (4-2) this week.
The Bengals are healthy and will look to quarterback Andy Dalton to play well against the Lions’ defense. They enjoy turnovers and will look to continue this as their 13 takeaways have them tied at No. 4 in the NFL. The team’s quarterback Matthew Stafford and his offense have scored 34 points from these.
Dalton has struggled in earlier games this season but last week’s OT win against the Buffalo Bills, he went 26 of 40, 337 yards, and three touchdowns. This gave him the nod for the AFC’s Player of the Week.
He has been assisted by his rookie running back Giovani Bernard and star wide receiver A.J. Green.
Both teams have identical records and sit atop their divisions. But on Sunday, the Lions will stay in the first position with the win (-2.5, 46.5 o/u).