Steelers Scouting Report: NFL Week 14 versus the Baltimore Ravens

Steel City Underground’s “Steelers Scouting Report” is a preview of each opponent Pittsburgh will face throughout the 2022-23 NFL regular season on a weekly basis, with analysis, injury news, and potential key matchups

The Baltimore Ravens may sit at the top of the AFC North division entering Week 14 of the 2022 NFL regular season, but the Pittsburgh Steelers will host their division rivals having won back-to-back road games thanks to improved play in nearly all aspects of the game. While Baltimore remains favored to win this matchup, Pittsburgh is determined to show they can be tough competition and play December football against any opponent.

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Ravens offense

The biggest – and possibly worst – news on the Baltimore offense is that quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s status for the remainder of the season is up for debate after he suffered a knee sprain last week against the Denver Broncos. Tyler Huntley came in to finish the game and is the presumed starter against the Steelers on Sunday.

Head coach John Harbaugh hemmed and hawed about Jackson’s availability, but it’s likely gamesmanship more than a true revelation as to what the MRI showed about the quarterback’s knee.

“I would say it’s kind of week to week. As the week goes on, we’ll see for this week. Probably less likely for this week, but it’s not impossible. After that, it’ll become more and more likely.” – Harbaugh on Jackson’s game status

Regardless, the team has been practicing with Huntley as their QB1. Huntley started four games last season for Jackson, and against the Broncos he had a tough outing yet completed 27-of-32 passes for 187 yards and an interception. Huntley also ran for 41 yards and orchestrated a 91-yard touchdown drive in the Ravens’ final offensive series to grab the game’s only touchdown.

Denver earned two sacks on Huntley that were ugly to watch. On one, Huntley was bent at an especially awkward angle. That said, Pittsburgh’s defense is surging with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith on the outside, providing nightmare matchups for offensive lines that outweighs what the Broncos handed out. Cameron Heyward has earned five sacks from his defensive line spot.

The Ravens were only able to manage ten points against the Broncos and will need their offense to get jump-started if they want to beat the Steelers.

The focus should be getting the Baltimore run game going. It’s an area that has not shined as brightly this season. Gus Edwards carried the ball just six times in Week 13 to Kenyan Drake‘s seven carries. The committee just hasn’t found its groove.

It will be a tough task, though, since the Steelers are only allowing 107.5 yards per game, ranked seventh in defense in the league entering this game.

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Baltimore’s receivers haven’t played complimentary ball for Jackson, and they’ll be asked to step up more to help Huntley operate. With Minkah Fitzpatrick (four interceptions) and Levi Wallace (three interceptions) hot over the past few weeks, Huntley will need to be on the same page with targets, like Mark Andrews and Demarcus Robinson.

The rotation on the offensive line at left tackle – between Daniel Faalele and Patrick Mekari – has been a bit of a nightmare for the Ravens offense. To say that they miss Ronnie Stanley is a understatement. Harbaugh is hopeful that Stanley will be back in the lineup, but his status has been up in the air off-and-on weekly.

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Ravens defense

Baltimore’s run defense has been stout against the run, and they’ll need to keep on their assignments as Pittsburgh brings its own running back committee into the mix.

The addition of Roquan Smith at linebacker has given the Ravens a nice boost, but Patrick Queen may not be 100 percent, yet, due to a thigh injury. That may set up Josh Bynes for more snaps to help limit Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, or whomever Pittsburgh asks to carry the ball offensively.

Regardless of who is in a helmet on Sunday, this game is expected to be a traditional Ravens – Steelers slugfest. This is one of the best rivalries in all of the NFL.

“In general, defense wins championships; defense wins games… I feel like that’s just how it’s going to be this upcoming Sunday; it’s just a straight slugfest on who can control the run game and who can go out there and stop them.” – Ravens OLB Tyus Bowser

The Ravens have been preparing all week for a shift in the rivalry; they’ve yet to face a Steelers team without Ben Roethlisberger. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has been improving steadily and his top targets are tight end Pat Freiermuth, and receivers Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. The Steelers’ passing offense is two ticks ahead of Baltimore’s (No. 24 vs No. 26).

The Ravens have had success against rookie quarterbacks and aren’t discounting Pickett’s talents. They’re focusing on how to keep him from having a big day, however. “They’re trying to get him going in the system, and (the Steelers) have the parts around him to get him going,” safety Chuck Clark said. “We just have to go out there and play our game at the end of the day.”

“It’s still the Steelers… They just don’t have a coach at quarterback on the field.” – linebacker Justin Houston regarding “Big Ben” versus Pickett

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Ravens injury report

Week 14 – injury/participation

Wednesday, Dec. 7

Thursday, Dec. 8

  • DE Calais Campbell (NIR/rest) – (-)
  • C Trystan Colon (NIR/personal) – DNP
  • WR Devin Duvernay (NIR/rest) – (-)
  • OLB Justin Houston (NIR/rest) – (-)
  • QB Lamar Jackson (knee) – DNP
  • OT Patrick Mekari (toe) – LP
  • CB Marcus Peters (NIR/rest) – DNP
  • LB Del’Shawn Phillips (quad) – LP
  • OLB Patrick Queen (thigh) – LP
  • OT Ronnie Stanley (ankle) – LP
  • LB Kristian Welch (concussion) – LP
  • CB Daryl Worley (hamstring) – DNP
  • G Kevin Zeitler (knee) – DNP
  • OT Morgan Moses (NIR/rest) – (-)

Note: (-) indicates that no participation report was given by the team on that player

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