Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Game day thread

I had the opportunity to sit and watch the entire Jets-Packers game today and if the Jets are supposed to be the Steelers' top competition in the AFC, I'm not seeing it.

Offensively, if you shut down New York's running game and force Mark Sanchez to beat you, it's awfully difficult for the Jets to win.

Sanchez remains the king of the horizontal passing game. Everything he throws is sideways. And when he does push the ball down the field, he's not very accurate.

That's why Baltimore and the Steelers are the two best teams in the AFC.

Even though I'm not a big Joe Flacco fan, at least he has some weapons to get the ball down the field.

© Trai Essex is active and it appears he will start at right guard tonight.

Cornerback Tracy Porter is inactive for the Saints, as is fellow corner Jabari Greer. That's both starting CBs for the Saints.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Who I like, New Orelans version

This is truly a tough spot for the Steelers.

New Orleans on Halloween night is not only going to be loud, it's going to be hostile. While Steelers fans often overrun many visiting stadiums, I don't expect that to happen this week.

Saints fans aren't likely to sell tickets for a game pitting the last two Super Bowl champions in one of the biggest night games of the season.

The fact that Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith are both likely out of action also bothers me.

Though we know the Saints won't run the ball a ton, Ziggy Hood and Nick Eason are going to get a workout rushing the passer - with little in the terms of backups behind them.

Also, Smith and Keisel are the two tallest defensive linemen on the roster. Keisel, in particular, has very long arms and is good at batting down passes, something that comes into play against 6-0 Drew Brees.

The other thing that gives me caution is the defending Super Bowl champion factor.

Yes, I know the Saints have struggled, but so did the Steelers in both of their seasons after winning the Super Bowl.

If you remember those seasons, the Steelers invariably lost to lesser teams but somehow got inspired to beat the good ones.

And make no doubt about it, the Steelers will have the full attention of the Saints.

Pittsburgh could certainly win this game and I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers did.

But they aren't going to go 8-0 on the road this season and I like them to win their remaining road games - yes, even at Baltimore Dec. 5.

Take New Orleans, 28-27

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Woodley, Adams return

The Steelers got some good news Thursday when LaMarr Woodley and Flozell Adams both returned to practice.

It would appear both will be ready to play Sunday at New Orleans.

© Brett Keisel (hamstring) is still out - though he could return Friday.

Also missing practice was center Maurkice Pouncey, who was out with an illness. That's perhaps a more troubling issue, especially if he's still sick on Friday.

Rookies need as much preparation as possible, particularly heading into what will be a loud, raucious environment in New Orleans.

© Apparently, the league thought so highly of the new, kinder, more gentle James Harrison that it is now giving him gifts.

Harrison was awarded an interception in an official scoring change on Miami's final offensive play last Sunday.

Maybe I was seeing things, but the ball appeared to hit the ground.

It doesn't matter in the context of the game - Miami turned the ball over on downs on the play.

But it could in terms of contract bonuses and such.

The Dolphins, by the way, have already appealed the scoring change.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sanders admits the push has helped

I spoke to Emmanuel Sanders today and he admitted that Mike Tomlin making him compete for a spot on the active roster each week has been good for him.

Sanders, by the way, was named the AFC's special teams player of the week for his effort against Miami.

© Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith (obviously), LaMarr Woodley and Flozell Adams did not practice Wednesday.

Keisel, Woodley and Adams will try to go Thursday or Friday.

© The big question this week is whether the Saints will even try to run the ball against the Steelers.

With New Orleans' weapons, they have the ability to spread the Steelers out and pass on every play.

That becomes even more likely if Reggie Bush can come back this week - though he didn't practice Wednesday.

If Woodley can't play, that takes away one of the deterrents for that strategy as well - though I expect Woodley to play.

© Word out of Cleveland is that Mohamed Massaquoi harbors no ill will toward James Harrison and isn't holding a grudge.

I'm sure Harrison will sleep better at night knowing that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday with Tomlin, preparing for life without Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith had surgery Monday to repair a torn tendon in his biceps and will be out indefinitely. That's the bad news.

The good news is that the Steelers are holding out hope Smith will be able to return at some point this season - though Mike Tomlin wouldn't put a timetable on it – so the Steelers aren't putting him on IR.

That could change if they get a rash of other injuries. But for the time being, Smith could possibly return.

© Tomlin is optimistic about getting Brett Keisel, LaMarr Woodley and Flozell Adams back this week for Sunday night's game at New Orleans.

All will be limited in practice to start the week.

© It looks like Trai Essex will be back this week. Though Tomlin wouldn't commit to a starter at right guard, the bet here is that if Essex is healthy, he'll start.

© You can hear me on FOX 970-AM every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. - beginning tonight - for the remainder of this season.

We'll be discussing the previous week's game and upcoming game for the Steelers each week.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Post-Miami thoughts

A wise man said – OK, it was Craig Wolfley – that during the course of a season, you win a game you should lose and lose a game you should win.

That was probably the case for the Steelers on Sunday as they won a game they probably should have lost.

Why should they have lost?

The defense didn't have a very good game. Yes, the final numbers aren't bad, but as the injuries mounted, the Dolphins moved the ball pretty easily.

The Steelers can be thankful that Miami's offense bogged down again and again inside the 20.

Chad Henne missed some throws and checked down a couple of other times instead of taking a shot at the end zone to 6-4 wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

© As we saw, Lawrence Timmons just isn't the same Lawrence Timmons when he has to move to outside linebacker as he did at times Sunday to replace injured LaMarr Woodley.

Timmons' game is built on speed and his explosiveness. He's not a guy who's going to line up and beat you with his pass rush moves.

I would expect Woodley to at least try to play next week at New Orleans, but if he doesn't, the Steelers have to at least take a long look at starting rookie Jason Worilds in place of Woodley.

© We won't know for sure until Monday, but it doesn't look good for Aaron Smith and his torn triceps muscle.

The Steelers are a little more optimistic about Flozell Adams' ankle injury.

© Everywhere I go, people are hammering me this year for my NFL picks. But I ask you, who can figure this league out this year?

Baltimore should have had a cakewalk against Buffalo Sunday and probably should have lost.

New Orleans did lose at home to Cleveland.

Tennessee is looking a little better, but that's still a team the Steelers beat on the road with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch putting up high school football quarterback numbers.

Picking games against the spread this season is a losing proposition.

Game-Day thread

It's a beautiful day here in Miami, though there was a quick shower here at the field that lasted about five minutes. (Note: It is now flat-out pouring here).

The field looks to be in good shape.

© I ran into Gene Steratore at the hotel last night. The Washington resident and his crew will be working the game today.

© Trai Essex is inactive for the Steelers. That means Legursky gets the start.

Nick Eason will get the start in place of Brett Keisel.

Antonio Brown is also inactive.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who I like - Miami edition

Credit Mike Tomlin for trying to avoid a distraction with James Harrison by sending him home on Wednesday. But that, apparently, only continued the distraction into Thursday.

That said, the Steelers are a veteran group and should be focused on the task at hand, beating the Miami Dolphins.

Three-game road trips are never easy and that starts this week at Miami.

Getting the first win is the most important thing.

The Steelers will handle Miami's running game and force Chad Henne to beat them. I just don't think he's capable of that.

Pittsburgh will win, 23-16

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Redman to get more carries

I spoke with Isaac Redman. He told me he'll be getting the carries in the last five minutes of games to help ease the load on Rashard Mendenhall.

You can read my story in Friday's O-R to see more about it.

© As expected, James Harrison returned to practice today.

Retirement avoided.

© I learned Wednesday that Ziggy Hood suffered a sprained ankle early in the season that has limited his play.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Harrison-Tomlin meet

I've just been informed that Mike Tomlin met with James Harrison this morning and that the two had a "very productive" meeting.

Tomlin then excused Harrison from practice today.

Harrison, of course, has gone on numerous sports talk shows and expressed his frustration at the $75,000 fine levied against him for a hit on Cleveland's Mohamed Massaquoi last Sunday.

He's even gone as far as saying he's contemplating retirement if he feels he's unable to play under the current rules - which he has 20 million guaranteed reasons not to do.

Tomlin is likely allowing Harrison - who sometimes does not practice on Wednesdays anyway - a little cooling off period.

© On a side note, the play on which Josh Cribbs suffered a head injury has now been changed to a sack, with Harrison and LaMarr Woodley each getting credit for a half-sack.

Cribbs originally dropped back to pass before scrambling out of the pocket.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday with Tomlin, preparing for the road show

The Steelers will not have Brett Keisel available this weekend when they travel to Miami. He'll be out with a hamstring injury.

Coach Mike Tomlin is opening things up at the position to see if Ziggy Hood or Nick Eason step up their game to fill that role. But that's nothing new for Tomlin, who likes to pit one player against another rather than simply elevating a guy into a starting role.

Trai Essex is expected return to practice this week after missing the past couple of games with an ankle injury. Doug Legursky has been starting in his place and has played reasonably well. But he suffered an MCL sprain against Cleveland - and returned to the game.

The healthier man will probably start.

Rashard Mendenhall has a bruised shoulder and will sit out early in the week. Tomlin admitted to being concerned with Mendenhall's heavy workload and - as I said on another post this week - look for Isaac Redman to spell him a little more often moving forward in an attempt to keep him a little more fresh.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hypocrisy 101

Rodney Harrison talking about players needing to be suspended for helmet to helmet hits on other players screams of hypocrisy.

This is the same Rodney Harrison, after all, who routinely won the vote for being the dirtiest player in the game when he still played. This is the same Rodney Harrison who was fined over $200,000 during his playing career and suspended himself for illegal hits.

And some of the hits he pointed to were made by Steelers linebacker James Harrison Sunday against the Browns.

I sat in, as I do every year, on the officials meeting with the media when they come to training camp to explain rules interpretations and points of emphasis.

One of the new ones this year was put in place to protect receivers from dangerous hits. Defenders are no longer permitted to launch themselves into those receivers and must aim their hit to the torso.

Take a look at the hit by Harrison on Mohamed Massaquoi in the photo that is posted here and you see he's not launching himself. He simply lowers his shoulder moments after the ball arrives. It's a legal hit - as explained to me this summer by the NFL officials who attended the Steelers training camp.

As for the hit on Josh Cribbs, he's a running back on that play and there are no rules in place to protect them from helmet-to-helmet plays. In addition, that play was more of a freak happenstance than anything. Cribbs happened to turn into Harrison just as he arrived to help LaMarr Woodley get Cribbs to the ground.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Post-Cleveland thoughts

At 4-1, the Steelers find themselves in a pretty good spot.

But now, things start to get a little more difficult.

Heading out onto the road the next three weeks - at Miami, New Orleans and Cincinnati. It's usually difficult enough to play on the road, but three in a row is murder.

The only saving grace for the Steelers is that after playing Miami next weekend, they'll have plenty of reason to stay focused. The Saints are the defending Super Bowl champions, while the Bengals are an AFC North rival that beat them twice last season.

This will be the make-or-break portion of the schedule, followed by a return trip home against New England.

The Steelers have to go at least 2-2 in those four games if they hope to have a chance to win the division - though the Patriots helped them out by beating the Ravens Sunday.

© Were the Steelers flat Sunday against the Browns?

No. The reason they didn't blow the Browns out earlier was offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' (correct) decision to use plenty of running to allow Ben Roethlisberger to ease himself into things.

Roethlisberger missed some open receivers and threw a bad interception on the team's first drive.

And the Browns also pinned the Steelers deep in their own territory on several occasions as well.

It took Roethlisberger a little while to find his rhythm, but the Steelers really were never challenged in this one.

The outcome of the game was never really in question. It was just going to be a matter of whether or not the Steelers covered the spread.

© Given the fact Roethlisberger needed as many game snaps as possible, I have no problem with the Steelers throwing into the end zone with under two minutes to play and up 11 points.

The Browns hadn't stopped playing, so the Steelers shouldn't stop trying to score.

© One nice thing the NFL did for the Steelers was set them up to face wildcat teams in back-to-back weeks coming off the bye.

The Steelers can roll some of the same defenses they used against the Browns right into the game at Miami - though, in my opinion, Ronnie Brown isn't as dangerous as Josh Cribbs is in the wildcat.

© Colt McCoy has a chance to be Cleveland's best QB since the Browns' return to the NFL. And there have been quite a few.

Ditto Peyton Hills at running back - though Jamal Lewis wasn't bad in his short stay with the Browns.

Cleveland is much better than it has been - though the Browns still aren't ready to challenge for a playoff spot.

Game-day thread

Here's where you can put all your praise/complaints for today's game against the Browns.

It's a beautiful day at Heinz Field. The crowd is amped up.

Great day for football.

© There was a huge ovation for Ben Roethlisberger, who was announced next-to-last on the offense, right before Hines Ward.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Who I like - Cleveland edition

This is the perfect storm for the Steelers.

Ben Roethlisberger is coming back and is fired up to play. Cleveland is starting a rookie quarterback and is banged up. And the Steelers are coming off a bye.

Add to that the fact the Browns embarrassed the Steelers in Cleveland in their last meeting and you have all the makings of a rout.

For some reason, the spread in this game opened at 14 and has actually gone down to 13 points.

Don't people pay attention to the warning signs?

This has all the makings of a classic Browns-Steelers blowout, which is what I expect to happen.

Take Pittsburgh, 38-6.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mid-week thoughts

You can feel the excitement surrounding Ben Roethlisberger's return in the Steelers' locker room, particularly among the offensive players.

This is a team that has thought all along that it was pretty goood - as Max Starks told me, they have a cockiness, even without Roethlisberger.

© Outside of the return of Roethlisberger, there's not a lot of buzz around the Steelers this week.

They expect to beat the Browns because that's what they do – with the exception of a 13-6 loss in Cleveland last season.

The Browns have made some moves to get better, but they're still the Browns.

© I spoke with Doug Legursky and he's taking his starting role in stride. He still looks at the right guard position as belonging to Trai Essex and hasn't been told by the coaching staff otherwise.

© Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians told reporters today that rookie Emmanuel Sanders will be active instead of fellow rookie Antonio Brown and will return kicks.

Sanders is the more polished receiver between the two, though Brown is the better return man.

But the Steelers feel that with Roethlisberger back, they want the more polished receiver available.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Big week to check on improvements

You could make the argument that the Browns cost a couple of Steelers coaches their jobs in 2009 and very nearly cost offensive coordinator Bruce Arians his as well.

Josh Cribbs had a 98-yard kickoff return against the Steelers at Pittsburgh last season, one of four kickoff returns for touchdowns allowed by the Steelers.

It was obvious that special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky wasn't coming back after a season of lowlights.

But the low point for offensive line coach Larry Zierlein and Arians came in a 13-6 loss in December at Cleveland.

In a driving wind and temperatures that were well below freezing, the Steelers ran the ball just 22 times for 74 yards.

And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times in a game plan that was obviously not adjusted to account for the weather.

That loss was the final one in a five-game losing streak for the Steelers, who won their final three games to finish at 9-7.

But the damage was done - at least for Ligashesky and Zierlein.

The were replaced by Al Everest and Sean Kugler, respectively, while Arians got a reprieve with the promise to run the ball more often.

We've seen the early results in the first four games, but Cleveland will offer some challenges this week, particularly for Everest, with Josh Cribbs.

Three of Cribbs' eight career kickoff returns for touchdowns have come against the Steelers. And he's just missed scoring on a couple of other occasions.

The Browns are not a good football team. But, as we saw last season, when you give up big plays on special teams or allow an all-out assault on your quarterback, you can lose to anyone.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Winning while off

The Steelers were a big winner on Sunday despite being off.

How so?

Looking around this league after Sunday's action and you have to ask yourself, who exactly is any good?

OK, Baltimore is good, but the Steelers already went toe-to-toe with the Ravens sans Ben Roethlisberger.

Tennessee went into Dallas and beat the Cowboys and now own wins at Dallas and the Giants, but the Steelers have already beaten Tennessee.

The NFC may not have one good team, though Atlanta has gotten off to a good start and now looks like the favorite.

But again, the Steelers have beaten the Falcons - without Roethlisberger.

With San Diego losing at Oakland, ending a 13-game winning streak against the Raiders, the AFC shapes up like the Steelers, Ravens and Jets, with Indianapolis clinging precariously to a spot among those teams, and then everybody else.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Moss trade shakes up AFC

The trade of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings changes the complexion of the AFC in several ways.

At first glance, it obviously makes the New England Patriots a weaker team.

The Patriots are not the Patriots of old. The defense is not great - particularly in the secondary. And, without Moss, who are teams going to be afraid of in that offense? Wes Welker isn't a guy who's going to beat teams over the top. Maybe one of the younger receivers is, but until we see it, the Patriots' offense looks weaker.

Maybe the Patriots were looking at this as addition by subtraction. Maybe Moss' attitude was just that bad.

But I can't see how this makes them a better team now.

It opens the AFC East up for the Jets, who already own wins over each of the other teams in that division. It also opens things up a little bit for the Jets to possibly be the No. 1 or 2 seed in the AFC playoffs since it does not appear they will be challenged in their division.

Then again, they do have to face Moss again this week at Minnesota, so who knows?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Roethlisberger looks good

After watching Ben Roethlisberger throw the ball around the Steelers' indoor facility today, you had to come away impressed.

Charlie Batch didn't practice, but Byron Leftwich did. And the differences between Leftwich and Roethlisberger's passes were easy to spot.

Not one of Roethlisberger's passes fell incomplete and there were a couple of occasions when Roethlisberger slipped a pass into a tight spot, eliciting a "Woah," from some of his teammates.

He was that good Tuesday.

© I've heard a lot of talk about how the Steelers shouldn't change their offensive philosophy now that Roethlisberger is back.

After all, the team is 3-1 with its current run-heavy offensive balance.

But anyone who expects Rashard Mendenhall to make it through the season with his current workload is delusional.

Mendenhall is on pace to log more than 350 carries. Add in some receptions and he'll be up over 375 touches.

That's too many.

Yes, the Steelers still need to be able to run the ball. But they're not paying Roethlisberger $102 million to hand the ball off.

Steelers at the bye

OK admit, even the most ardent Steelers fans among you didn't have this team going 3-1 heading into their bye week.

This team is 3-1 with Ben Roethlisberger coming back and could have just as easily been 4-0 if not for a play here or there against the Ravens Sunday.

The offensive line has played well, regardless of who has played - and every lineman on the 53-man roster has seen action. The only one who has looked overmatched has been Tony Hills.

Running back Rashard Mendenhall is one of just three backs in the league averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. His blitz pickup has been very good and backup Isaac Redman has been solid as well.

We haven't gotten to see much from the receivers due to the quarterback situation, but Roethlisberger will make them better. Remember, a great quarterback can make even average receivers look good. Think about the guys that Brett Favre has made stars of over the years.

The defensive line has been strong, despite a missed game each by nose tackles Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke.

The linebackers have been, well, the linebackers. Lawrence Timmons is an emerging star and James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior have done their usual solid work.

The secondary is actually catching the ball this season, something it did not do last year. Yes, Bryant McFadden was beaten for the winning touchdown against the Ravens, but Baltimore's wide receiver group of Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh is pretty darn good. The fact that Baltimore scored just 17 points with those three receivers on the field cannot be overlooked.

Much of the yardage allowed through the air this season has come late in games when the team is in a prevent.

Special teams have been much better than last season. The coverage units have been solid. Al Everest also came up with a solid trick return at Tennessee.

Yes, Jeff Reed has missed four field goals at Heinz Field. But kicking at Heinz Field is no day at the park. Anything over 40 yards is difficult, particularly toward the open end of the field.

Sometimes, field goals are taken for granted. They should not be at Heinz Field.

At the beginning of the season, I had the Steelers down for a 10-6 record. Looking at things have shaken out over the first month, there's no reason this team can't go 9-3 the rest of the way.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Post-Baltimore thoughts

Anybody who would have taken 3-1 coming out of the first four games, raise your hand.

OK. That's pretty much everybody.

Yes, I'm sure you don't like it that the Steelers lost to the Ravens, but it gives this team two weeks to re-focus with what Hines Ward called an angry Ben Roethlisberger coming back.

That's not a bad thing.

The Steelers will still control their own destiny this season.

And Sunday's loss should shut all the idiots up who don't think the Steelers need Roethlisberger.

© Baltimore's pass defense was a little better than I gave it credit for. The front seven makes a lot of that happen with the pressure it brings.

Still, there were things that could have been exploited.

© Rashard Mendenhall should make the Pro Bowl this season. He's running hard. He's running decisively. He's been the Steelers' entire offense - for the most part - through the first four games when everyone knew he was coming.

Mendenhall will no doubt need the next two weeks off to rest his body up for the remainder of this season.

© The Steelers have made it to their bye relatively healthy.

That's good news. Chris Hoke and Trai Essex will be back following the bye.

© Everybody wanted to talk about the first four games being the make-or-break portion of this season, but really, it's the next four games.

After playing Cleveland at home in Roethlisberger's return, the Steelers play road games at Miami, at New Orleans and at Cincinnati. That's a tough stretch for any team.

The only good thing about that is that there's no way the Steelers will take the third of those three games, at Cincinnati, lightly.

That's a big thing because history shows that NFL teams don't do well in the third game of three consecutive road games.

If the Steelers can at least split those four games, giving them a 5-3 first half, they'll be in excellent shape.

Remember, Baltimore still has to play at New England, at Atlanta and at Houston. The Ravens also have home games against the Steelers, Dolphins, Saints and Bengals. That's seven pretty tough games left on the Ravens' schedule.

© I thought Charlie Batch did a good job with his hard counts against the Ravens. Were they a factor in the two false starts late in the game?

Possibly. But if the Ravens had jumped offside on those, everyone would be saying what a great move they were.

The offense knows the snap count. There's no reason for them to jump offside.

Those two offside penalties really limited what the Steelers could do.

Look at it this way, Mendenhall had two carries for five yards that were negated by the false starts. That would have put the Steelers in a third-and-five from the 8, as opposed to third-and-10 from the 3.

They may have attempted a pass from the 8 off a three-step drop. But you don't want Batch dropping back into the end zone to pass the ball. Too many bad things can happen.

And no, I'm not taking a safety in that situation. When your defense has only given up three touchdowns - to that point - in nearly four games and a touchdown is the only thing that can beat you, you have to make the opponent score a touchdown.

Game-day thread

It's game day and since there are no real surprises for the Steelers on the inactive list - though Baltimore defensive end Cory Redding is down - I thought I'd put this post up for your thoughts on the game.

The weather here is slightly chilly - between 50 and 60 degrees - and wet. It's not raining now, but it has been sprinkling and there is a chance of showers during the game.

I would think that favors the home team since the Steelers are better stopping the run than Baltimore has been this season.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Dixon to IR

In a move that wasn't too surprising, Dennis Dixon was placed on injured reserve Saturday to make room for defensive tackle Steve McLendon.

The Steelers needed McLendon on the 53-man roster because backup nose tackle Chris Hoke won't play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Dixon suffered a torn meniscus two weeks ago that required surgery to repair. He was likely to miss another three to four weeks.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Who I like, Baltimore-Pittsburgh

There's been no smack talk this week - at least publicly - because the Steelers and Ravens know how much is at stake this week.

A win by the Steelers would put them in excellent position and put the Ravens behind the eight ball at 2-2 - and more importantly, 1-2 in the AFC North.

Because of that, the Ravens need this game more than the Steelers, which is usually a big factor for me when picking games.

But, the intensity of the rivalry cancels that out. Neither of these teams takes a game against the other for granted. There will be plenty of emotion to go around.

The Steelers have a way of making Joe Flacco look like some guy the Ravens just brought in off the street. But, Ray Rice's quickness and elusiveness also causes problems for the Pittsburgh defense.

That said, the Steelers are 4-0 under Mike Tomlin against the Ravens in Pittsburgh.

And this Baltimore defense can be run on - not because of its front seven, but because its secondary doesn't play the run very well.

Rashard Mendenhall has been getting into the secondary this season.

Take Pittsburgh, 16-13