Inside Slant against the Steelers

<b>When the Ravens have the football:</B> Watch how adeptly the offensive line clears out room for NFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis to operate. They seal off defenders who are already sprinting and stunting toward the tight end, which is called the strong side.

Fullback Alan Ricard acts as a decoy up the middle. Ideally, that approach would only leave 
one or two defenders unblocked for Lewis to contend with. Expect Lewis to get  the football quite often tonight as he chases the elusive 2,000-yard mark and 
Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105 yards.

Key matchup: C Mike Flynn vs NG Casey Hampton

Flynn draws a bullish assignment in the stocky, 320-pound, two-gapper. Hampton is a Pro Bowl selection who's an expert at clogging up the line of scrimmage. Flynn will need all of his tenacity, agility and strategy to move Hampton around. Hampton is one of the strongest players in the NFL. The former University of Texas Longhorn can bench press over 500 pounds.

When the Steelers have the football: Anticipate a possible gadget play or two from crafty offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. It's the perfect situation for trickery since Pittsburgh has 
relatively little to play for other than pride and bragging rights. The Steelers like to employ the fade pattern to Plaxico Burress, intermediate routes to Hines Ward with Antwaan Randle El crossing across the middle. Plus, they have bruising power back Jerome Bettis to stomp between the tackles.

Key matchup: OLB Terrell Suggs vs. OT Barrett Brooks

Suggs leads Baltimore and all NFL rookies with a dozen sacks. The Ravens lead the NFL with 40 sacks. Pittsburgh has already surrendered 36 sacks and will be without offensive tackle Marvel Smith. He was placed on injured reserve this week with a neck injury. The Steelers are 3-1 in games Smith started and finished, 2-8 when he doesn't.

Aaron Wilson

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