4. Will the Ravens be able to stuff the run?

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees, pictured, has tried it all: run blitzes, different fronts, mixing and matching personnel to get more speed on the field. Although the Ravens shut down the Oakland Raiders during a 55-20 rout, the Raiders were playing without their top two running backs due to injuries. They rank 26th in run defense, allowing 132 yards per contest. The Steelers own the 21st-ranked running game, averaging 103.8 yards on the ground per game. They distribute the football between Jonathan Dwyer (355 yards, 4.6 per carry, no touchdowns), Isaac Redman (295 yards, 3.5 per carry, two touchdowns) and Rashard Mendenhall (19 carries, 74 yards). For the defense to upgrade its performance, the Ravens will need to start defeating blocks and tackling better. This is a physical bunch of runners, so inside linebackers Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe will need to strike quickly with a low pad level to prevent them from piling up yards.
Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun
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