Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers: 3 Bold Predictions

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Oct 12, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive back Anthony Levine (41) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Someone completely unexpected will step up in the secondary

Expectations for one of the worst and most beat-up secondaries in the NFL are low. The Baltimore Ravens need to exceed those expectations to have a chance to win against Pittsburgh’s white-hot offense, and I think they will.

No, there won’t be any miracles. Ben Roethlisberger will almost certainly exceed 300 yards passing, but the Ravens absolutely can and will force him into mistakes. That’s what Terrell Suggs does: He sacks Ben Roethlisberger and pressures him into mistakes.

No matter how good the pass rush is, though, the Ravens secondary needs to come through. We’ve seen the pass rush excel in weeks past, only to have the secondary give up catches so quickly that they render the pass rush irrelevant.

Don’t forget, this secondary has some talent. Lardarius Webb is still a great corner when healthy, and he has gotten healthier every week. Darian Stewart is average, Terrence Brooks has a bright future and Will Hill has been one of the best safeties in the league when given a chance.

Those guys aren’t the problem, though. The problem is Dominique Franks, Chykie Brown and Matt Elam. Those guys have struggled this season. Counting on them to come through may be a bit of a stretch.

But the injury to Jimmy Smith guarantees more playing time for someone, be it Anthony Levine, Brynden Trawick, Brooks or Elam as a nickel corner. I will go out on a limb and say that while the Ravens’ secondary will struggle, one of those guys will come through with a big play that changes the game. That will make be enough in a game that is usually very close.