Battle Plans against Pittsburgh

Offense: Three Offensive Keys to Victory: 1. Balance: The key for the Ravens winning ball games this year still comes down to their ability to establish a consistent ground attack week in and week out. This formula for offensive success has worked for the past three years, and it won't be ignored by head coach Brian Billick and offense coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, as they go up against a stingy Pittsburgh rush defense on Sunday.

Jamal Lewis still need to touch the ball 20 times because quite simply, when he has carried the ball that many times, the Ravens have only lost once. As the game progresses, and Lewis gets more and more carries each drive, any defense he faces will inevitably wear out no matter how tough they are against the run because Lewis is a human battering ram.

 

Ultimately, if the run/pass ratio stays close to 50%, the Ravens will have established a perfectly balanced offense.

 

2. Spread them out, but be careful: Despite there being a strong need for the Ravens to establish Lewis as a threat in the running game, they will clearly need to employ a somewhat dynamic passing attack that can keep the Steelers' pass defense on its toes to some degree.

 

That means that when it comes right down to it, the Ravens will likely need to throw the ball well to help setup up their rush offense. To do this, the Ravens will use a spread offense, deploying three to four wideouts on all downs, whether they run or pass the ball, while still keeping one TE/FB on the field to function as an extra blocker.

 

The biggest void for the Ravens to attack should be in the middle of the field, where gains of 5-10 yards can be had using a balanced intermediate passing attack.  That means crossing routes, inside slants and curls should be used in heavy doses, with tight ends Todd Heap and Jon Jones running the routes in between the hashes.

 

However, the Ravens can't throw the ball as many times as Oakland or New England did against Pittsburgh in the first two weeks of the season. If the Ravens just pass, pass, pass, they will be committing suicide against the Steelers' blitz happy defense.

 

3. Play smart: This is a game in which quarterback Chris Redman can shine. He doesn't need to throw for 300 yards. He doesn't need to throw the ball 40-50 times. He doesn't need to carry the offense on his shoulders.


The Ravens' coaching staff won't allow him to feel that much pressure against the Steelers' revived pass rush. But they will ask him to play a smart game.

 

Redman will have to expose different matchups when the opportunity presents itself. He will have to release the ball within 3-4 seconds on each pass, and make his reads quickly and decisively.

 

And more than anything, he cannot turn the ball over. Redman has become adept at managing the offense in recent weeks, so he more than anyone knows the importance of taking care of the football.

 

Defense Three Defensive Keys to Victory:

 

1. Stop the run: The Steelers' offense will likely come out throwing to help establish their rush attack, which has gotten better in their last three games against New Orleans, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Still, don't let anyone tell you that the Steelers can thrive by throwing the ball out of necessity.

 

If they had their druthers, they would pound teams into submission every Sunday. With an immense offensive line that can control the line of scrimmage and a stable of running backs that all have their own distinct running styles, the Steelers are simply built to run the ball.

 

With that in mind, the Ravens must stymie halfback Amos Zeroue from the get go. Zeroue has the speed to score a touchdown on any given carry and the elusiveness to slip by tacklers. If he gets loose, the Ravens' defense will not be able to stop the Steelers from moving the ball up and down the


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