Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston picks three key matchups in the Ravens' game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell vs Ravens LB C.J. Mosley: Bell is the key to victory for both teams. If the Ravens can contain him and make quarterback Michael Vick beat them, they have a good chance of winning. Bell missed the first two games because of an NFL-imposed suspension, but had 62 yards on 19 carries last week. Mosley, with 20 tackes, is second on the team behind fellow inside linebacker Daryl Smith (21). He'll have a tough job handling Bell on those cut-back runs. More importantly, Mosley has to cover Bell out of the backfield on passing plays, something he has struggled with. Edge: Steelers.
Steelers OTs Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert vs Ravens DTs Timmy Jernigan, Carl Davis and Lawrence Guy: Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams is a beast inside, so few teams run up the middle. But the Ravens also have to win the battle off the perimeter with their outside players. Bell is good at getting to the edge and patient as far as setting up his blocks. If Jernigan, Davis and Guy can get some penetration, it slows down Bell and allows the pursuit to catch him. Edge: Ravens.
Steelers CBs William Gay and Cortez Allen vs. Ravens WRs Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown: The Steelers have struggled on the back end and this is an opportunity for Aiken and Brown to get more involved in the game plan. Look for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to test Pittsburgh deep more than any other team the Ravens have faced this year. The Steelers have a new defensive coordinator this season and have had their share of blown coverages. Pittsburgh has no one on the roster who can handle Smith. Edge: Even