Thursday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens Preview

Ben Roethlisberger will hope to lead Pittsburgh to a second consecutive win in Baltimore tonight

 Week one of the NFL season didn’t disappoint, with great performances from some household names – and some unfamiliar ones too. Week two kicks off with two AFC North foes going toe-to-toe in Baltimore, with the Ravens looking to bounce back from an opening weekend defeat while Pittsburgh are hoping to move to 2-0 in the early going. Keep reading for a full preview of what promises to be a no holds barred midweek match-up.

When Pittsburgh has the ball…
The Steelers win last week was predicated on their ability to run the ball on Cleveland, with Le’Veon Bell racking up 109 yards on the ground and a score, while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 365 yards in a promising season debut. Big Ben had three receivers who racked up over 80 yards in the air, indicating that Pittsburgh have a balanced attack that isn’t reliant on one individual. That approach could pay off again this week against a Baltimore D that has plenty of holes and struggled against Cincinnati, notably when they failed to prevent an Andy Dalton heave connecting with A.J Green for a late touchdown last week. Expect the Steelers to have success through the air again, while moving the ball on the ground could be more of a challenge against Haloti Ngata and co on the Ravens line. Edge: Steelers

When Baltimore has the ball…
With Ray Rice suspended for the season the rushing load falls on the shoulders of Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce, which won’t fill Ravens fans with a great deal of optimism. Joe Flacco was forced to toss the ball an incredible 62 times last week and it figures he’ll continue to lead an aerial assault as the season progresses. Steve Smith enjoyed a productive debut for Baltimore and combined with Dennis Pitta and Torrey Smith Flacco will have to be pleased with the weapons he has at his disposal. The Steelers defense played well for 30 minutes last week against the Browns before imploding in the second half, and although they walked away with the win coach Mike Tomlin will want to see a much more complete effort from the Troy Polamalu led unit. Edge: Ravens

Special Teams
Shaun Suisham had a solid day for the Steelers in week one, nailing all three of his field goals, while punt returner Antonio Brown made a highlight reel play with his boot to the face of Browns punter Spencer Lanning. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was just one for two kicking last week but the Baltimore return game was on song with Jacoby Jones breaking one kick-off return for a 48 yard gain. Edge: Steelers

Injury Report
The Steelers have a number of players listed as probable, but kick returner Dri Archer has been ruled out. Baltimore corner Lardarius Webb is questionable with the back ailment that has sidelined him since training camp; however Webb aside the Ravens are at full strength (minus the suspended Rice, of course)

Prediction
Steelers 24, Ravens 23

Who do you think will win tonight’s game? Get your prediction in by leaving a comment or tweeting @fredjstanley

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