Steelers-Ravens Showdown in Baltimore
The Steelers bring their 10-2 record to Baltimore Sunday night to test the Ravens resolve to win the AFC Central crown.� The Steelers will test their own ability to win a very meaningful game on the road against a formidable foe.� This game will speak volumes as to how good the Steelers are and will clearly show where the psyche of four very important Steelers are � two coaches, two players.� Here�s what these men need to do to allow the Steelers to win this game and win respect for the organization:
Kris Brown:� Brown must perform well Sunday.� His right foot will be counted on heavily once again against the staunch Raven defense.� Brown will most likely be called upon to boot at least 4 times � he needs to nail every kick with authority.� If Brown should fail, he would be spinning out of control at exactly the wrong point in the season on exactly the wrong type of team.� The Steelers cannot afford to have Brown kick poorly, but they also must challenge him to be the hero.� Kris Brown cannot be afraid to be used nor can the Steelers be afraid to use him.
Kordell Stewart:� The Bus is most likely on the bench for the second consecutive week and Stewart will not have a ground game to support him.� This game is Stewart�s biggest test of the year and perhaps career � no Bus, the Ravens in Baltimore, and a chance to essentially win the division.� His leadership will be the key as it will let his team know where he is and weather or not they can succeed with him in the playoffs when true pressure has them all in a bind.� The Steelers cannot know when Bettis will be back � this injury stinks like the one suffered by Fred Taylor.� Taylor is out for the season�� Therefore, Stewart must become the man on offense and must show the ability to lead the team on national television to the promise land.� Failure to do so will put serious doubt in everyone�s mind about their ability to win in the post-season.
Tim Lewis:� The Steeler defense hasn�t registered a sack in two games � this is unforgivable.� Perhaps Lewis was saving certain schemes for certain games, or not showing off his defense so other teams could not prepare well.� Whatever the case, it is time to bring out the best this defense has to offer.� The Steelers need to put pressure on Grbac and hold the Raven offense to as few yards as possible.� Field position will be critical in this game, so playing with a �bend but don�t break� defensive attitude is not a good idea.� Matt Stover does not have the problems Kris Brown has and can boot the ball from 50+ yards as good as anyone in the league.� The Steelers must seize every opportunity to keep the Ravens from moving the ball.� This must be done with pressure and aggressiveness.� Furthermore, the Steeler defense needs to create turnovers � preferably in Raven territory.� This is best done with pressure on the QB and everyone knows that Grbac can be harassed into to giving up the ball.
Bill Cowher:� Billy Ball should not be on display Sunday night.� Regardless of the fact that Kris Brown needs to shine in this game, the Steelers must show the Ravens that they are willing to go for TDs and not settle for field goals. Otherwise, the Raven �D� will come after Stewart with ferocity and take chance that could lead to big turnovers.� Cowher must let Stewart and the offense take chances � plenty of chances.� The inability to score a TD in this game will spell doom for the Steelers.� Indeed, the Steelers need to treat this game as a must win and not as a game they can afford to lose.
The Steelers will definitely be tested Sunday in many areas � the kicking game, the passing game and the sack game to name a few.� Passing all of these tests starts with a sound and aggressive mentality that winning is just as important as how you play the game.� The Steelers should bring their best to Baltimore Sunday night � if they aren�t good enough, then so be it.� But, there will be no lingering questions about what could have been or what the Steelers could have done or should have done differently.� Just once before the playoffs start, wouldn�t it be something to see just how good this football team is?