Columnist Mike Preston picks three key matchups in the Ravens' AFC wild-card game vs. the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Steelers WRs Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton vs. Ravens CBs Lardarius Webb and Rashaan Melvin: Webb has made progress coming back from an assortment of injuries and Melvin has been steady as well, but they will have problems with Brown and Wheaton. Brown might be the best receiver in the NFL with 129 catches for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has outstanding speed. Wheaton has 53 catches for 644 yards. The Ravens have had trouble playing against top quarterbacks and are allowing 248.7 passing yards per game. Edge: Steelers
Steelers OTs Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert vs. Ravens OLBs Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs: Dumervil had two sacks in the first game against Gilbert, a 26-6 Ravens win, but the Steelers did a better job against both Suggs and Dumervil in the second encounter, a 43-23 Pittsburgh victory. If the Ravens are to have any success in this game, Dumervil and Suggs have to get pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh's offensive line has gotten better as the year has gone on working with Mike Munchak, the team's offensive line coach. Edge: Even
Steelers CBs William Gay and Ike Taylor vs. Ravens WRs Steve Smith and Torrey Smith: Pittsburgh plays worse pass defense than the Ravens even though the Steelers have improved during the past month. The Ravens own Taylor, and Gay isn't much better. Both Smiths need to come out focused and ready to go. There is no warm-up period in this game. Steve Smith has to avoid getting into verbal sparring with Taylor and Torrey Smith should get two opportunities to blow by Taylor on go routes. Edge: Ravens