The Baltimore Ravens have been in the news for all the wrong reasons this week, culminating in their cutting of Pro-Bowl running back Ray Rice three days ago. Tonight’s Thursday Night Football game gives them a chance to put that behind them and focus once again on football, as they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in M&T Bank Stadium tonight for the 8:25 EST / 5:25 PST game.
Baltimore will need to make sure they’re focused for tonight’s Steelers game, because Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a solid outing last Sunday in the Steelers’ comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns. Big Ben started hot, going 16-for-22 with 278 yards in the first half, and finished the game 23-for-34 with 365 yards and one touchdown.
Running back Le’Veon Bell also got into the action in Pittsburgh’s comeback win. Against the Browns last week Bell rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown while also catching six passes for 88 yards.
The Ravens offense won’t need to readjust to Rice’s absence for tonight’s Steelers game. Rice was already serving a related suspension. However, Baltimore QB Joe Flacco and his offense will need to find ways to fill the void left by Rice long-term.
Last season Rice started 15 games and had 214 rushing attempts for 680 yards and 4 touchdowns. It was his worst production since his 2008 rookie season, when he played 13 games and had 454 yards with no TDs. For his career, Ray Rice had 1,430 rushing attempts for 6,180 yards, a 4.3-yard average. He scored 70 touchdowns. That’s a big hole to fill.
History seems to be on the Ravens’ side for tonight’s Steelers / Ravens Thursday Night Football game. Flacco’s managed to win four of the past six games against the Steelers, completing 61% percent of his throws and throwing seven touchdowns against just one interception during that same period.
But history can almost be thrown aside for this rivalry game. These things are always tight, as 10 of the past 12 games between Baltimore and Pittsburgh have been decided by three or fewer points.
Tonight’s Thursday Night Football game between the Steelers and Ravens is live on TV on both CBS and the NFL Network. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:25pm EST / 5:25pm PST. You can also watch Steelers vs Ravens Thursday Night Football online free live using the CBS Sports website or DirecTV’s website. The latter requires you to have an NFL Sunday Ticket MAX subscription, but if you do you can watch the game online free via the DirecTV live stream on a smartphone, tablet or PC.