The House that Hines Built
Radio: WDVE and other affiliates
What To Watch For
1. Good Joe vs Bad Joe
Joe Flacco has made a career habit of following up terrible games with great games. This has led to the Schrodinger's Cat analogies of Joe Flacco's Eliteness where he is both elite and not elite at the same time. Flacco played poorly in the Ravens season opener then came back and lit up the Steelers in Week 2. The best guage for Flacco's play seems to be the exact opposite of how he played the week before. Last week, Flacco threw for 195 yards, 0 TDs and 2 picks. That's not a great sign for the Steelers because if Good Joe shows up on Sunday Night at Heinz Field, it could be another long night for the Steelers.
2. The Order of the North
The AFC North is the only division in football with all 4 teams over .500. The Steelers and Ravens enter this game just a half game behind the Bengals for first place in the division and just a half game ahead of the Browns for last place. More importantly, the Steelers are just 1-2 against AFC North opponents this year. If we lose this game, we would lose any tiebreaker against the Ravens. In an airtight AFC playoff race, we need all of the tiebreakers we can get. The Steelers need this win to keep pace in the North as we roll into the second half of the season.
3. Antonio Brown's Historic Pace
Antonio Brown has been absolutely unstoppable this year. Now, he gets a Ravens secondary that gave up 125 yards on just 5 catches to Mohamed Sanu last week. AB is in his 5th year as a Steeler, which was the same year of his career that Hines Ward set the team record for receptions (112) and touchdowns (12). Through half the season, Brown has 60 catches for 852 yards and 7 TDs, putting him on pace for 120 receptions, 1700 yards and 14 TDs.
4. 23 Points
This seems to be the magic number for the Steelers this season. In every game except the Jaguars and Panthers games, the defense has allowed at least 23 points. Even though the defense played better against Indianapolis, they still gave up 400 yards to Andrew Luck and the Colts put 34 points on the scoreboard. The defense still can't stop anyone and it appears Cortez Allen has fallen from starter to the 4th corner on the depth chart with Brice McCain becoming a starter and Antwon Blake now stepping into the nickel role. The defense still struggles to defend tight ends and backs out of the backfield. The defense is bad and if we're going to win this game, it is going to have to be the offense and Ben Roethlisberger that lead us to victory.