Every Wednesday, reporter Jon Meoli will serve up five stats you should know heading into that week's Ravens game. This week's stats, pertaining to Sunday night's primetime showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, focus on how the Ravens are going to stop the Steelers, and whether the Ravens will be able to match them offensively.
37 – Both the Ravens and Steelers average just over 37 yards per offensive drive, with Pittsburgh fourth at 37.69 yards per game and the Ravens fifth with 37.32. But where these teams differ is points per drive. Pittsburgh is up to 11th in the league 2.07, while the Ravens are fifth with 2.56. Before the offensive explosion against Indianapolis, the Steelers were 21st in points per drive with 1.82. Either way, this is the type of game where both teams could sustain drives, and the Ravens' short-yardage and red-zone offense will come into focus, as will the Ravens' red-zone defense.
1.87 -- Advanced Football Analytics charts win probability, which gives a likelihood of either team winning a given game, and assigns players win probability added (WPA) for plays that positively or negatively add to that win probability. The Ravens' rookies have added nearly two wins (1.87) so far this season, with C.J. Mosley leading the charge with 1.24 WPA. That's third among linebackers and second among rookie linebackers, with leader Anthony Barr of Minnesota benefiting from a big swing on his fumble-recovery touchdown against Tampa Bay. But that just goes to show how valuable the Ravens' rookies have been, and that can't even quantify the rookies on the offensive line
3 – Threes are wild this week for outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, always a central figure during Steelers week. Suggs has sacks in three of his past six regular-season trips to Heinz Field, including one last year, and he also has sacks in three straight games. The Ravens' pass rush was impactful even without much production from anyone other than Elvis Dumervil in the earlier meeting, but the pass rush will be more important than ever with cornerback Jimmy Smith out.
39 – With Smith sidelined, the Ravens' active cornerbacks played a combined 39 snaps in Week 2 against Pittsburgh, and those belonged to Chykie Brown. Brown didn't start that game, but he stepped in when Asa Jackson was injured. He has also been inactive for the past two weeks. Dominique Franks was home with his family, and Lardarius Webb was still out with a back injury when that previous game against the Steelers was played. So the Ravens have an inexperienced and limited secondary, and the Steelers have added a weapon alongside star receiver Antonio Brown in rookie Martavis Bryant.
116.9 – I don't think we need to quantify that quarterback Joe Flacco is markedly better in Ravens wins, which even suggests that they win when he plays well. But Flacco boasts a 116.9 passer rating in the five wins this year, and a 62.3 rating in the three losses. That's nearly half as good, obviously. The defense takes a lot of the blame during losses for not getting late stops, but the quarterback is the one who makes the biggest difference.