A week removed from being touted as the top team in the AFC, most of the fuckwit knee-jerk pundits immediately consigned the Steelers to being a middle of the pack team following a close loss on the road against a solid Eagles team, proving again that listening to these people only hastens the onset of brain rot. Yes, the Steelers' line was godawful against Philly, the playcalling atrocious, but these things need not be indicative of the rest of the season.
While my faith in Arians play calling improving dramatically is somewhere in the vicinity of null, I can see some hope for the line. Remember that this is a unit with two new starters and will need still some time to fully congeal into a unit that can be at least satisfactory.
The Ravens will likely try to duplicate the Eagles' success of battering the offense with elaborate, intense blitz packages. The personnel advantage between the units would favor Philly, but the Ravens are capable of wreaking similar havoc if the Steelers feel like playing into their hands like last week. At least the lack of crowd noise will help to mollify some of the confusion that was readily apparent in the front five last Sunday.
Much has been made of Mendenhall's fumbling predilictions and boastful texting habits. I don't think he or Willie, were he healthy, would be a huge factor in this game. Baltimore typically does a good job of stifling Parker and the Steelers had most success in the Monday night game last year through big pass plays. I'm not confident that they're going to connect on as many of the bombs that they did last year at home, but that's going to have to be how they have to move the play. Hopefully the gameplan doesn't rely on Ben having to break tackles and find guys downfield (though, again, he did on Monday night last year) as he might be too banged up to reprise that performance. That and I'm certain Baltimore will be keying on making sure they bring Ben down rather than going for the strip first, having seen what he can do after first contact.
This is a game the Ravens defense will have to win, either by turning it into a battle of field goals or getting some scores themselves. Honestly, if the Steelers can't rattle a rookie quarter making his first start on the road, there might not much in the way of optimism going forward. Chris Hoke will play well in relief of Casey and the defense will force Joe Flacco to beat them. He might be able to do it, if the Steelers let them hang around, all of which depends on how much they learned from Philly.