Ravens Vs. Steelers

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Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, 1 P.m., Ch. 13

December 26, 2004

GAME FACTS

Matchup

Records: Ravens 8-6, Steelers 13-1.

Line: Steelers by 5.

Vs. spread: Ravens 9-5, Steelers 10-4.

Series: Steelers lead 12-6.

Last meeting: Ravens won, 30-13, on Sept. 19 at M&T Bank Stadium.NFL rankings

Ravens offense: 30th (rush 9th, pass 31st)

Ravens defense: 6th (rush 6th, pass 9th)

Steelers offense: 19th (rush 3rd, pass 28th)

Steelers defense: 1st (rush 1st, pass 4th)

Ravens injuries

Questionable: TE Todd Heap (ankle); DT Maake Kemoeatu (calf); RB Jamal Lewis (ankle); LB Ray Lewis (wrist); CB Deion Sanders (foot); LB Bart Scott (knee).

Probable: FB Alan Ricard (hamstring); RB Chester Taylor (hip/knee).Steelers injuries

Out: LB Kendrell Bell (groin); LB Clark Haggans (groin).

Questionable: WR Plaxico Burress (hamstring); LB Clint Kriewaldt (hamstring); CB Chad Scott (knee); RB Duce Staley (hamstring).

Probable: RB Jerome Bettis (knee); TE Matt Cushing (shoulder); RB Verron Haynes (knee); C Chukky Okobi (back); S Troy Polamalu (shoulder); WR Hines Ward (hip).

INSIDE SLANT George Kokinis, the Ravens' pro personnel director, sizes up the Steelers:

Strength of offense

Interior of offensive line. Center Jeff Hartings and right guard Keydrick Vincent are quick and can get up to the second level. You can see them trying to get to linebacker Ray Lewis. The Ravens are going to have to counter that and keep them off him. Left guard Alan Faneca is tough and physical. The Steelers' inside power running game is their staple and stems from those three.

Strength of defense

Inside linebacker James Farrior. He jumps off the tape when you watch the Steelers. He can play with power and speed. Farrior has really embedded himself in that system and knows the nuances. He's the type of player that has spoiled the Ravens for years, a guy who can anticipate plays and beats people to the hole. He's had solid years before, but he's made the jump now.

Key matchup

Ravens TE Todd Heap vs. Steelers SS Troy Polamalu. It's really two Pro Bowl players going against each other. Heap wasn't named to the Pro Bowl because of injury this season, but I believe defenses look to stop him first in the passing game. Polamalu used to just run around and try to disrupt because he's so fast and so explosive. Now, he's understanding where he fits in the defense and what his role is. A very active player, he always seems to get himself noticed.

STARTING LINEUPS

Ravens offense

WR 89 Travis Taylor

LT 75 Jonathan Ogden

LG 64 Edwin Mulitalo

C 61 Casey Rabach

RG 62 Mike Flynn

RT 77 Ethan Brooks

TE 86 Todd Heap

WR 84 Clarence Moore

QB 7 Kyle Boller

RB 31 Jamal Lewis

FB 39 Alan Ricard

Ravens defense

LE 98 Tony Weaver

NT 97 Kelly Gregg

RE 94 Marques Douglas

OLB 55 Terrell Suggs

ILB 56 Ed Hartwell

ILB 52 Ray Lewis

OLB 96 Adalius Thomas

CB 28 Gary Baxter

CB 21 Chris McAlister

SS 20 Ed Reed

FS 47 Will Demps

Steelers offense

WR 82 A. Randle El

LT 77 Marvel Smith

LG 66 Alan Faneca

C 64 Jeff Hartings

RG 68 Keydrick Vincent

RT 79 Oliver Ross

TE 84 Jerame Tuman

WR 86 Hines Ward

QB 7 B. Roethlisberger

RB 36 Jerome Bettis

FB 35 Dan Kreider

Steelers defense

LE 91 Aaron Smith

NT 76 Chris Hoke

RE 67 K. von Oelhoffen

OLB 53 Clark Haggans

ILB 51 James Farrior

ILB 50 Larry Foote

OLB 55 Joey Porter

CB 27 Willie Williams

CB 26 D. Townsend

FS 28 Chris Hope

SS 43 Troy Polamalu

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