What's the key matchup for the Steelers against the Ravens: Stopping Ray Rice.
Rice is one of the best all-purpose players in the league, not to mention being more difficult to tackle than a fire hydrant. And he runs behind two-time Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, who was the lead blocker when Houston’s Arian Foster led the league in rushing in 2010.
Rice is sixth in the AFC with 657 yards rushing and second with seven touchdowns. But he also is third on the team with 35 catches for 284 yards, boosting his career yards from scrimmage total to 7,553. Rice has 36 career touchdowns and needs six more to move into second place on the team’s all-time list, behind Jamal Lewis (47).
The Steelers will need another big game from inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, the hero of Monday night’s victory against the Kansas City Chiefs because of his interception two plays into overtime to set up the winning field. It was a fitting end to a performance in which Timmons had seven tackles, one quarterback hurry and two passes defensed.
The Ravens have averaged 36.8 points per game in five home games after putting up 55 points on the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. It was the most points scored by the Ravens in franchise history and the most by an NFL team this season.
Curiously, Rice rushed for only 35 yards on 13 carries in that game, not what you would expect in a game when the Ravens offense sizzled.
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