The Baltimore Ravens are now 0-3 for the first time in franchise history. The rocky start to the season has come as a shock to the notable playoff contenders. Unlike other teams, despite losing Terrell Suggs to an Achilles injury, the Ravens haven’t been hit with multiple injuries or suspensions that other teams have been forced to contend with. Baltimore’s main problem may be its inability to close out games. All of its losses have been heartbreakers. Maybe, the team can turn things around against the Pittsburg Steelers on Thursday Night Football. Here are a few players to watch during this AFC North grudge match.
Joe Flacco had a terrible showing against the Broncos during week 1, but the last two games haven’t been a bad performance from the Super Bowl XLVII winner. With a QBR of 102.5 and 92.4 during weeks 2 and 3, Flacco greatly improved from his dismal play in the season opener. Without Roethlisberger in for Thursday’s showing, and with the help of his defense, Flacco should be able to pull the Ravens out of despair for the team’s first win. Just hope that the game doesn’t come down to the final seconds.
Steve Smith Sr. is set to retire after this season. Don’t count on the former pro-bowler going quietly in the night. Smith may be older, but the wide receiver is always a deep threat on the field. If the game comes down to the wire, look for Flacco to rely on the veteran wideout to pull in a win.
Antonio Brown is probably tired of being the shadows when it comes to talks of the league’s best wide receivers. Although his production is equal or greater than that of Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, and Odell Beckham Jr., Brown doesn’t have the flash of those other players. But, Brown could write his name in the history books this year. Big Ben’s best target has opened the season with three 100 yard games. With Michael Vick set to take over for the injured Roethlisberger, look for the Baltimore defense to double cover Brown, forcing Vick to look elsewhere for help.
Le’Veon Bell is fresh off suspension and tore it up last week in terms of production. As one of the league’s leading rushers last year. Losing time on the field hasn’t caused Bell to lose a step. The running back had 132 yards in Sunday’s game against the Rams. Look for the Ravens to try to stop Bell by stacking the box, but that might prove ineffective with Vick (a running threat) at the helm this week. Pittsburgh should be able to control the clock using Bell, who is expected to continue his great start to the season.