A look at what the Steelers will be up against on Sunday afternoon at the Baltimore Ravens:
BANGED UP BIRDS:** The Ravens lost to the 1-5 Jets, 24-16, on Oct. 23, at MetLife Stadium. How'd that happen? What Baltimore didn't have at its disposal likely impacted the outcome.
The Ravens were without their first-team left tackle (Ronnie Stanley), their first-team left guard (Alex Lewis, who was replacing Stanley at tackle) and their first-team right guard (Marshal Yanda) lining up where they're supposed to line up. That contributed to Baltimore rushing for 6 yards, a franchise-record low, on 12 attempts. The Ravens also had a hard time protecting quarterback Joe Flacco.
Baltimore was also without wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., linebackers Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and C.J. Mosley and cornerback Shareece Wright against New York, then lost cornerback Tavon Young and safety Lardarius Webb to in-game attrition.
The Ravens have 15 players on the reserve/injured list, including tight end Benjamin Watson, safety Matt Elam (designated for return) and tight end Maxx Williams.
They've started three different players at left tackle, at left guard, at left cornerback and at SAM linebacker this season (Stanley has missed the last four games and the Ravens have lost all four, their first four-game losing streak under head coach John Harbaugh).
Depending on who can make it back and how effective they might be, Baltimore could be a much different team this Sunday, as Miami was when it got left tackle Branden Albert and left guard Laremy Tunsil back for an Oct. 16 hosting of the Steelers.
DISGUISE AND CONFUSE:** What the Ravens like to do on defense was apparent on a third-and-6 snap from the Baltimore 38-yard line early in the third quarter against the Jets.
The six-defensive backs sub-package was on the field but at the snap six players were crowding the line of scrimmage and only one of them had a hand on the ground (defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who was lined up over the center). The Ravens rushed five against a five-man protection and sacked quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (Jernigan) for a loss of 7.
Baltimore is still in the habit of standing up and shifting around on defense pre-snap.
PERSISTENCE PAYS: The Ravens were allowing 69.7 yards per game on the ground prior to playing the Jets, who rushed 39 times for 155 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Matt Forte had 100 yards, but he needed 30 carries to get there and only averaged 3.3 yards per attempt.
A breakdown of his carries reveals the Jets' commitment to running the ball against Baltimore:
-Not counting his 1-yard touchdown run, Forte had 17 attempts that netted 3 yards or fewer, including 14 that gained 2 yards or fewer, including three negative plays.
-He also had 12 carries for 4 or more yards, including 9 that went for at least 5 yards, carries he may not have gotten had the Jets abandoned the run.
TAKING THEIR SHOTS:** Flacco hit wide receiver Mike Wallace for a 53-yard gain against the Jets on first-and-10 from the Baltimore 10 on the Ravens' second possession (Baltimore's fifth offensive snap). Three tight ends were on the field at the time.
Such is the Ravens' commitment to taking shots down the field.
Flacco has always been known for throwing deep, but he ended up just 1-for-8 for 53 yards and an interception on deep balls against the Jets.
Baltimore's final play was a down-the-field heave for wide receiver Chris Moore on fourth-and-8 from the Jets' 44 with 1:02 left in regulation.
The Ravens needed 8 yards to maintain possession and keep the game alive and they went for a chunk play; it's who they are, especially when Flacco smells single-coverage.
LINGERING IMPRESSIONS: Forte also caught two middle screens for 44 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown … Jets nose tackle Steve McLendon twice disrupted hand-offs by driving center Jeremy Zuttah back into Flacco … Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker is 18-for-18 on field goals this season (4-for-4 from 50-plus yards) and has made his last 25 attempts dating back to last season. The Baltimore special teams also blocked a field-goal attempt and recovered a fumbled punt snap for a touchdown against the Jets … Cornerback Jimmy Smith followed Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall for much of the game. Marshall caught three passes for 39 yards, none when Smith was on him … The Ravens had 11 sacks in their first six games (five from Suggs), then collected five against the Jets … Flacco has been sacked 15 times this season.