The second round of the NFL playoffs kicks off on Saturday with an intriguing matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. It’s a game that serves as a throwback, of sorts, with each team playing a physical, smash-mouth style like days of old. If you like hard-nosed football, defenses that fly around and hit like a ton of bricks and strong play on the offensive and defensive lines, this game is for you.
A quick look at the stats makes it easy to see where the emphasis lies for each team. The Steelers give up just 62.8 yards per game on the ground, best in the NFL. The Ravens give up 30 yards more, 93.9 yards per game, but still rank fifth in the NFL. Want to establish the run on either of these two teams? Good luck.
Baltimore gave up 108 yards on the ground against the Chiefs last week, including a surprising 41-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles. Why was it surprising? It was the first touchdown run of over 30 yards the Ravens had given up since 2005. Not just in the playoffs, but in any game.
The Steelers, on the other hand, are a brick wall for opposing running backs. They’ve held stars such as Michael Turner and Chris Johnson to under 50 yards on the ground. They held the Saints to 17 rushing yards as a team earlier in the regular season. It’s truly been an impressive year for the Pittsburgh run defense and their body of work speaks for itself.
The Steelers and Ravens get the divisional round started, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on CBS. Tune in to watch these two formidable defenses square-off with the right to play for the AFC championship on the line.