PFF Preview: Ravens @ Steelers, Wild Card Round
With a fourth-quarter rally and some help from the Kansas City Chiefs, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves in familiar territory, earning a trip to the postseason for the sixth time in seven years. The division-winning Pittsburgh Steelers will play host to the Ravens for the fourth time in the playoffs, having won the previous three meetings.
In their Week 9 matchup, Ben Roethlisberger got the best of the Ravens’ secondary and with Le’Veon Bell’s status in jeopardy, the Steelers may once again look to the air in their effort to cut the Ravens’ season short. With the highest-rated wide receiver in Antonio Brown on their side, they’re likely due a few big plays.
Brown is not only the highest-rated WR but has also been targeted 178 times (tied for first) and has compiled 1,698 yards (first) on 129 receptions (first). After the catch, Brown is as dangerous as any WR in the game, as he has picked up 615 yards (third) and has forced 17 missed tackles (fourth). As good as Brown has been in the short game, he is also a deep threat. Although his target percentage of 14% on balls traveling 20+ yards ranks towards the bottom of the league, he has still managed 12 receptions (tied for eighth) and three touchdowns, a catch rate of 48.0 (tied for 10th).
The Ravens will need to find a way to limit Brown and may try their luck with Rashaan Melvin who was signed off the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad following the second meeting between the clubs. Melvin has played well and is currently the highest-rated active cornerback on the Ravens’ roster. Having played the last three weeks of the season, Melvin has produced a coverage grade of +1.4, 29th across that three-game stretch. Melvin has been targeted 15 times, giving up five receptions for 67 yards and 14 yards after the catch, good for the 12th-best passer rating against of 48.5. He may not be a household name, but he’s allowing just 0.71 Yards Per Coverage Snap (21st) and is giving up a reception every 18.8 coverage snaps (12th).
Justin Tucker – In a divisional wild card game, the Ravens have the luxury of Tucker’s foot that has produced a field goal rating of +3.6 (ninth).
Marshal Yanda – Thanks to his run blocking grade of +34.2, Yanda is the highest-rated overall guard with a grade of +43.4.
James Hurst – With Ricky Wagner on injured reserve and Eugene Monroe’s status unknown, the Steelers could take advantage of James Hurst who has struggled in pass protection (-16.9).
John Urschel – The rookie guard may also start due to injuries and has impressed this season, earning a pass block grade of +1.9.
Joe Flacco – Flacco has an Accuracy Percentage of 50% on balls traveling 20+ yards, sixth-best among qualifying quarterbacks.
Martavis Bryant – Although he only has 26 receptions, Bryant has eight touchdowns and a receiving grade of +2.2.
Shaun Suisham – Suisham has only missed three field goal attempts this season and has generated a field goal grade of +1.8.
Heath Miller – Not only is Miller a weapon in the pass game, he has also helped pave the way for the run. His run blocking grade of +4.4 ranks fifth among tight ends.
Kelvin Beachum – Playing all 1,134 snaps this season, Beachum has been a stalwart, ranking fourth in pass blocking among tackles with a grade of +19.2.
Ben Roethlisberger – Roethlisberger’s tremendous season has him ranked fourth with a PFF QB Rating of 93.75.
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