Key Matchups

November 29, 2009|By MIKE PRESTON

Steelers WR Hines Ward vs. Ravens CB Lardarius Webb

The Steelers will line up Ward, above, anywhere on the field, so he gets a couple of chances to go against Webb. Ward is a tough receiver with no fear of going over the middle. He is a ferocious blocker and a fierce competitor. Webb, a rookie, hasn't seen a receiver like Ward, who can get into Webb's head. Webb is surprisingly strong and physical and can run with most receivers. He'll get a taste of a true professional tonight. Edge: Ward:

Steelers OLB James Harrison vs. Ravens LT Jared Gaither

The life of a left tackle isn't easy, and one week after going against the Indianapolis Colts' Dwight Freeney, Gaither gets Harrison. Good luck, kid. Harrison, above, has played extremely well in the past against the Ravens. He has enough quickness to be a speed rusher but also has enough strength to overpower most left tackles. Gaither might have come into his own last week with a strong performance against Freeney. Gaither has worked hard to improve his technique, and his feet are surprisingly quick for a player his size. Edge: Harrison:

Steelers NG Casey Hampton vs. Ravens C Matt Birk

Hampton is a load in the middle and can also collapse the pocket as a pass rusher. It's hard for any center to control Hampton one-on-one. For the past two weeks, Birk, above, has struggled with large defensive tackles. Birk is athletic and quick. He can work into the second and third levels. But he lacks the bulk to push around true run-stoppers, and the Ravens will have to give him some help tonight. Edge: Hampton:

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