Can Ravens make it a clean sweep against Steelers?

Can Ravens make it a clean sweep against Steelers?
December 1, 2012, 7:45 pm
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Ravens vs. Steelers

at M&T Bank Stadium, 4:25 p.m. ET

The line: Ravens -10.

Last week: Ravens (9-2) beat the San Diego Chargers 16-13 OT; Steelers (6-5) lost to the Cleveland Browns 20-14.

Series: Steelers lead, 18-15.

Last meeting: Ravens won 13-10 on Nov. 18 in Pittsburgh, which was without QB Ben Roethlisberger, by overcoming an early deficit to rattle and knock out his replacement, Byron Leftwich, with cracked ribs late in the fourth quarter.

Burning question: Can the Ravens avoid a letdown in a game they’re not only expected to win but dominate and keep alive their two-season undefeated streak in the AFC North and extend their home winning streak to 15 consecutive regular season games?

Keys to victory on offense: Just do what they normally do at home, which is pile up points with the hurry-up tempo. They’ve scored 44, 31, 23, 31 and a franchise-record 55 at home where QB Joe Flacco has thrown for 299 yards or more in four of five games. That means a big game is likely for WR Torrey Smith, too, who has scored a touchdown in every game except the opener at M&T.

Keys to victory on defense: They combined to hold the three-headed RBs of Jonathan Dwyer, Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman to less than 100 yards rushing combined in the first meeting. The Ravens have held opponents in two of their last three games to less than 100. With Roethlisberger not playing for the third consecutive game, the battered secondary likely won’t get challenged much by third-stringer Charlie Batch. He threw 3 INTs in the Browns game last week. They’ll try to run the ball, and the Ravens will have the numbers to stack the box. Mendenhall has been slow to recover from a knee and Achilles injury and was demoted to third string.

Injury report: RAVENS -- Out: CB Jimmy Smith; Doubtful: TE Ed Dickson (knee); Questionable: DE Pernell McPhee (knee), CB Chris Johnson (hamstring), LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle/foot); Probable: WR Jacoby Jones (ankle), TE Dennis Pitta (neck), DT Terrence Cody (elbow), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle), CB Corey Graham (illness), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder), WR Torrey Smith (thigh), WR Anquan Boldin (knee).

STEELERS -- Out: QB Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder/ribs), QB Byron Leftwich (ribs), T Mike Adams (ankle), LB LaMarr Woodley (ankle); Questionable: T Willie Colon (knee), WR Jerricho Cotchery (ribs); Probable: S Troy Polamalu (calf), T Max Starks (back), WR Antonio Brown (ankle), DT Casey Hampton (illness).

Prediction: Ravens 34-14.